R.A.I.N on Serendipity Farm

Hi All

Here is the lesson for the week…”some loaves of bread shed a WHOLE lot more crumbs than their physical presence actually warrants.”

In saying that, I have been girding my loins this week bolstered by Jo’s (All the Blue Day) sterling efforts to live frugally with what she has in her pantry. I found myself last night with half a jug full of buttery mashed potato with Italian mixed herbs in it. There are a couple of things wrong with that sentence…firstly “Why are the mashed potatoes in a jug?” and “why are there any leftover?!!!” Firstly, they were in a jug because I needed room in the fridge and so I relegated them to a tall container and secondly, alas, I am no longer able to avail myself of potatoes, even their shallow nutrition free husk (dehydrated potato flake) form that these were. I would usually use them up on top of a tasty shepherd’s pie (one of Steve’s favourite meals) but he doesn’t like the texture of them used this way so I had to come up with another use for my leftovers…


When your husband is very adverse to using leftovers creatively for lunch you have to come up with your own way to cope with the mundane…I call this “Pollock on white”


Not really “left over” per se but a nice cold frosty glass of non-dairy kefir on a hot day is a most glorious thing. Almost as glorious as the feeling you get when you use up all of your leftovers creatively 🙂

I decided to make a big stockpot of vegetable and red lentil soup which we both love and after seeing Tanya from Chica Andaluza had made an amazing bread recipe that she sourced from Celia at Fig Jam and Lemon Cordial I was bolstered to invent myself a bread. Yes…invent. Why on EARTH would I use a recipe? I started by measuring out 14g of yeast into a Pyrex jug. I figured that I would probably need a bit more yeast as I was going to ask it to leaven about 500g of mashed potato in the dough and had read that yeast struggles a bit with butter (and these spuds had a fair bit in them). I added a teaspoon of sugar and a cup of warm water from the kettle and let it prove while I measured out 600g of strong white bread flour, a teaspoon of salt and dumped the mashed potatoes and what was left of a jar of marinated capsicums chopped up. I squelched it all together and tipped in the yeast mix once it had frothed and then I kneaded the mass (for indeed it was a delightful mass…) on my kitchen table (please don’t ask me if I wiped the table down first…). I bunged it into a largish bowl that I had liberally buttered (you can NEVER have enough butter…) and set it to prove next to the pot that I was tossing vegetables etc. into to make soup.


A creative use for “last nights Asian veggie rice noodle soup” is to eat it for breakfast!


The Lord and Master of Serendipity Farm looking down upon a humble little long suffering aquilegia that has learned to use Earls “leftovers” to its advantage and who has been surviving on said “left overs” in lieu of rain all summer long

DSCF6863What happens when you leave Earl in the house when you head out to water the garden…this old pillow is now relegated to leftover status and I have NO idea how to use this up! Any ideas Jo? 😉

After the dough had risen beautifully (giving me a bit of hope that it might at least look like bread when I baked it) I punched it down and shaped 2/3rd of it into balls and put them into a lovely flower-pot cake pan I once bought specifically for baking bread rolls in and the rest into a small loaf pan (both liberally buttered). I let them prove and then baked them when the soup was almost ready for 30 minutes and the bread was apparently really delicious as Steve ate 3 of the large rolls with his soup. I find that most homemade bread is lovely on the first day you make it but tends to be a bit tough the next day and best used for toast. Not THIS bread. I cut some and the crumb was as bouncy and wonderful as supermarket white…now I have to sit down and try to remember exactly what I used and how I did it to attempt to replicate it in the future!


According to Ms Lena Lovich “The best things in life are free” but the best bread ideas are also free but when you freestyle your bread you have to be certain that you don’t want to make it again or that you have a very good memory…


Does anyone happen to know what this lily/bulb is? I bought some bulbs in pots last year from a small nursery and just bunged them in never thinking that any would survive and this lovely big red thing appears to have survived right in the middle of where the chooks have dust baths…obviously you could grow these on the moon…pity I never knew what it was called

I have been meeting up with a lady from down the street called Jan. She and her gorgeous female Rottweiler Mica (I hope I spelled that right Jan 😉 ) walk down our dirt road regularly and we decided to see if Earl and Mica would play nice. Mica has a bit of a problem with small dogs and Earl is…well… Earl, so we tentatively started walking after meeting up on the road last week. The dogs were exemplary and behaved themselves impeccably which surprised both of us and we have been meeting up every couple of days to walk them together since. Today we walked back to Jan’s house where Earl and Mica frolicked (flat out) around her magnificent big back yard and it was lovely seeing them both enjoying each other’s company. “Hi Jan” if you are reading this post 🙂


Here is the veggie garden update images for this week. As you can see the warmer weather has been a boon to the veggies and at least something on Serendipity Farm is enjoying it!


My experimental gone exponential fecund garden. I have NO idea how I am going to find the fruits of this harvest but I just love that it grew. Any actual harvest will be a bonus to the wellbeing I have gained from this little oasis of green 🙂


What is left of our potted plants being watered with the long suffering tumbleweed filled arid garden next to it

The weather has finally decided to cool down a bit here and the last couple of days have been positively blissful. It might even r.a.i.n. this weekend (you have to spell it out because if it knows you are onto it, it won’t appear, much like Father Christmas…) and I, for one, can’t sing loud enough in gratitude. I have a pretty busy day today with posting and heading over to pick up library books and post off some items to some most deserving blogger mates. Pauline, Bev and Jess, watch your mailboxes sometime next week 😉 . I was able to tear myself away from walking Earl and lazing around Pinning on Pinterest in order to water the crazed mass of vegetation formerly known as “my vegetable garden”. I have given up looking for order and have let it run amok as a kind of super experiment to see what happens. This garden wouldn’t have happened without my friend insisting that I plant it and providing specimens from her own garden in order for it to grow and along with adventitious pumpkins, potatoes and tomatoes and the odd cucumber that have sprung up out of the compost and disturbed soil this entire garden is lucky to be growing and so I owe it to nature to allow it to do whatever it wants this season.


I love that “weeds”, in this case white clover, are all jumbled in with the good guys and the bees are loving these white clover flowers while they fix nitrogen in the soil. I reckon they deserve their place in my garden 🙂


These are garlic chive flowers and they have the most delightful floral fragrance, nothing like garlic at all!


What happens when you turn on the hose and nothing comes out and you go to investigate and unplug the hose from the main tap…sigh…I attempted to take a selfie of my face as it copped most of the water but the end results had me looking like a startled Beaker from the Muppets so I decided to spare you the pain

My experimental compost heap has apparently exploded with pumpkins. There is a kind of natural selection going on that involves possums bouncing up and down on top of the netting in order to try to reach something underneath and snapping off and spitefully (they hate pumpkins…) chewing off my pumpkins that have reached the top of the enclosure but in the process they are actually doing the pumpkin vines good! I was a bit put out by them snapping off my giant sunflower but it has grown side arms and is waving its cheery happy flowers up at them in a most karmic way. I get the feeling that possums are vindictive little buggers because I was wondering why some of my pumpkin leaves were suffering some kind of “disease” where the surrounding pumpkin leaves were absolutely fine. I scratched my head until I realised that the “diseased” leaves were all in a row…a long sort of row that led to where my sunflower had been decapitated and where the pumpkin vines had been chewed off…”possum pee!” Possum pee is pure stinky battery acid by the way and as pumpkin leaves are tough as nails you get the feeling that you wouldn’t want to be standing underneath a possum looking up when he decided to relieve himself…


I left this silverbeet stump in the ground as an experiment. It survived being attacked by possums, chooks, wallabies and was STILL alive so I let it grow and it has now gone to seed. As far as I am concerned, the best seed is from the hardiest plants and this baby certainly fits the bill when it comes to survivors


Looking back at my experimental compost heap veggie garden. Everything that you see here grew from the compost heap


As you can see the experimental compost heap is going great guns. I reckon leaving it heaped up has enabled the mass to retain a lot of moisture and these pumpkins are especially happy with their lot and are migrating outwards to cover the bare patches at the top of the veggie garden where beds haven’t been built yet


Another image of how crowded it is getting. There are garden beds under here but I am loath to trim anything back this year. “Let it grow!” is my motto. I am sure I will regret this train of thought at a later date but for now I am luxuriating in how lush it all looks


My yacon plants that keep sending up little new yacon through the middle of all of these spuds. I am most interested to see if anything eventuates from their efforts and I had best start looking up how to harvest them and when to do so. Anyone have any ideas?


Crew cut button squash

The exponential garden is starting to provide us with a few odds and sods to eat. We picked a plethora of zucchini and an enormous “button” squash that would be more appropriate to use as an anchor than a button. I was a bit miffed that my scarlet runner beans weren’t growing any beans but have been noticing a few large beans that I will collect this year and grow some more next year along one of the sides of the enclosure. Pumpkins are forming rapidly and are getting larger by the day and corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and various other fruits are forming on my frolicking plants that seem to like living in a tangled mass that gets sporadically watered. I get the feeling that nature is smiling on my tangled mess and is rewarding my complete lack of care that the tomatoes are all laying down on the ground, the possum battle scared silverbeet/chard is more “chew” than leaf and my pumpkins are spreading throughout the large expanse of enclosure by allowing me to actually harvest a few items this year.


Prospective harvest! Even if they don’t ripen I have lots of recipes for green tomatoes


More prospective harvest looking MUCH happier than the transplanted corn that I grew last year. This corn grew from a seed in situ


If you have a pot, a bit of potting mix, heck, even a pile of dust you can grow strawberries. I got all of my strawberries from runners that someone had thrown out at the tip! They are the hardiest thing known to man (aside from cockroaches but as far as I am aware, no-one actively cultivates cockroaches 😉 )


My first ever crop of peas. Planted from seed we have high hopes for them. My friend and I tried a couple and they weren’t all that not so long ago but I left some ripen up and fill out their pods and even though the pod isn’t particularly tasty, the peas inside are sweet and delicious. There might even be enough for Steve to have as part of a meal! 😉

I might not even mind that our summer is going to stretch out another 60 days. I am going by Mr Puxatawny Phil the ground hog who says that you northerners are going to be subject to a long winter and conversely we should be enduring another 60 days of summer. It’s my logic…sue me! I am hoping that some of the small green tomatoes will become large red ones and that my poor eggplants that are still purple flowers will have a chance to grow eggplants but I am not holding my breath. Next season I will be growing my own veggies from seed. I will be planting garlic, kale, all sorts of brassicas (I LERVE me some brassicas!) and anything else that will grow merrily through our mild winters. I love English spinach and will be planting an entire bed of it to repeat harvest like I did last year. The ability to stand up and garden has been blissful and being able to see the vegetables rather than have them covered up for their own good has done wonders for my desire to look after them.




I reckon by the size of the leaves that this is a Queensland blue pumpkin. That would mean that this little pumpkin fruit that is currently the size of a baseball has the propensity to grow to a gargantuan size…lets just hope that it can hang on!


One of the elusive Scarlet Runner Bean pods that I am going to allow to mature on the vine and will pick when dry for next years seed. Again, these beans grew from stumps that had been chewed down to the base by chooks and native animals and they spent the winter uncovered only to start shooting when spring came. I reckon their seed will be most able to survive the test of time on Serendipity Farm 🙂

It has been so hot here that the chooks have gone on an egg laying sabbatical aside from a couple of the younger girls who are still producing. There are 2 hens sitting on an enormous clutch of eggs most determined to bring out about 40 babies and I have no idea what to do with them all. We are going to reduce the amount of chook we have here (again!) and this time we might get on top of the egg laying and clucky baby producing cycle by counting the hens that go into the roost at night. When there are a lot of them it’s too hard to count them but when there are only a few (say 8) it is a lot easier to see if one of them has absconded off into a shrub to attempt to double the hen population (or in our case, the grain guzzling rooster population 😦 ). We have learned some valuable lessons since we moved to the country and most of them revolve around throwing romantic/idyllic visions out of the window and embracing the gritty truth of country life before it sends you mad in the process. You have to be tough. You have to be ready for anything. You have to be able to problem solve on the run and you have to be willing to fall over and get back up again on a regular basis. I am quite proud that Steve and I have managed to achieve everything that we have done here over the last 3 years living on Serendipity Farm. We might not be fast but we do it properly and what we lack in funds we make up for in determination.


“Look! I found a nest of them!”

Our next project is an extension of the dog’s compound around our house where they can run freely. We plan on extending it out to encompass a stand of Blackwood trees and our small heavily possum predated orchard along with the area where we have our potted plants. Watching Earl frolic with Mica today in Jan’s big back yard made me all the more determined to get started on making this project a reality. I am also about to start collecting all kinds of soil ameliorant’s to heap up on top of the large pile of zucchini leaves that I removed from my plants the other day in order to let the rest of the garden breath. Everything is an exciting experiment for me as this is only my second year of growing vegetables and my first year of being able to compost close to the garden without having to lock the compost up like Fort Knox in order to keep out the possums and chooks. The large compost mound that is currently under a mountain of pumpkins is full of worms and I have been noticing bees (both regular and bumble), lizards of all sizes and even a little frog have taken up residence in the veggie garden and as I stand there hand watering I am overcome with simple pleasure at my good fortune in being able to have my own little space where narf7 can plan her heart out and fill to the brim with exciting possibilities


Even if the only thing that these scarlet runner flowers do is attract bees to the enclosure they have earned their place in this crazy jungle

I have yacon growing in my garden and NO idea when or how to harvest it. I really don’t know a lot about vegetable gardening at all but I do follow some sterling blogs that point me in the right direction. No matter how frazzled by the heat I feel I am always invigorated and refreshed by a quick visit to the veggie garden that occasionally resembles a tropical jungle when the sun is beaming down. The netting over the top diffuses the sun’s rays enough to stop the sun from burning the veggies and they absolutely love the growing conditions inside the enclosure. I am SO glad that Steve and I put the effort in to create this possum/wallaby free space for me to explore and I will be ready for next spring with a whole lot of heritage seedlings that will have “grown by narf” written in crayon on their tags


I got this long fig cutting with roots (root layer) from Beaconsfield recently and after potting it up in homemade compost it appears to have survived admirably and is growing lots of little green shoots so this will be fig number 5 for Serendipity Farm (3 from the same source as this one and 1 from a now deceased tree in the city that we took cuttings from)


Figs are incredibly hardy plants. This last very long cutting/root layer appears to have died but I am not counting it out yet. They have a way of surviving anything and whether or not it lives at least something is happy in its pot 🙂

And we come to the end of another post and another Wednesday and you find me champing at the bit to head off and find those addresses so that I can send my parcels off to their recipient’s. I will be sending Tanya some dehydrated Kid Creole kefir grains in the U.K and she, in turn, is going to send me some of her “Moby Dick” sourdough starter. I wonder if they meet in a sorting office halfway around the world in passing. I don’t believe it…I can hear r.a.i.n on the roof! It has been over a month since we last had even a sprinkle. Duckie WILL be pleased 🙂 I hope you all have a really lovely week. Some of you are embarking on creative adventures and some of you are living frugally and some of you are just putting your feet up and reading a good book and whatever you are doing I hope you enjoy it 🙂


80 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thecontentedcrafter
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 15:16:18

    Oh, I laughed out loud several times….. let’s see: Earls face with the pillow – that’s guilt! Narf”s face after the hose, Narf’s shoes – so cool! Possum pee -yes the little stinkers!! Narf going to the post office to post parcels – that’s a happy dance!!

    Narf’s bread – now that sounds like my kind of bread – please put your thinking cap on and remember then immediately write it all up in an extra post – just cause you can!

    It’s raining here too – only we don’t need it – apparently the next two weeks are that way inclined. My garden has been coming along very nicely so I am not very pleased with this weather change – I’m enjoying picking fresh salad leaves for my meals and was even thinking of buying a tub of strawberries that I saw in the garden centre on sale ….

    Your garden looks delicious – I personally love wild and abundant – what an adventure to be watching to see what comes, what goes, what gets got first [bloody possums!] You sound on top of things this week, Earl has a girl friend [yay – world domination!] though I suspect not THAT kind of a girl-friend…. no mention of poor old Beziel – I’M THINKING OF YOU MR B! and I’m about to sally into the kitchen and have a go at making your breakfast cereal recipe 🙂 Have a good week Narf7.


    • narf77
      Feb 12, 2014 @ 18:16:32

      Just sent your gorgeous GORGEOUS spoon and Bezial had a ball dragging Steve around Beaconsfield today and zig-zagging all over the place for the best smells. Earl was subdued after a long walk this morning and Mica is the boss in that relationship (just like it should be 😉 ) I will try to write that recipe down as I jotted a few notes when I was making it in case it worked which it did most deliciously apparently. The best bit was that it was soft and pillowy the next day! “WOOT!” much better than my usual bread that is pretty much only good for toast then. I am thinking about starting a “Narf’s Nosh” recipe page on the blog. Do you think anyone would be interested? Wendy (Quarter Acre Lifestyle) thinks that they would but I do make some weird and wonderful creations! I would be known as “that crazy Tasmanian vegan” 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 12, 2014 @ 19:22:54

        Well, you probably are already, I know that’s how I refer to you 🙂 I’m with Wendy – I think it is a great idea then we could all use your blog as an on-line recipe book – especially if you do a link list at the side. It’ll save me hours of writing down recipes 🙂

        I think it is excellent that Earl has met the woman to keep him in line already! Go Mica!! And pleased to hear that Bezial was having a happy outing with his daddy – I was getting concerned that he had maybe gotten buried in the pumpkin patch or maybe – and even worse – got peed on by the possums and frizzled into a tiny splat as a result.

        I have to practise not tearing into mail packages and be more like Linne and ‘savour the anticipation’ so when Steve’s spoon arrives I shall sit and drool over it for exactly ten minutes and then rip into it 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:23:32

        The best thing about getting a wooden spoon as a gift is that you don’t have to just put it up on a shelf and that after Orlando has smooched it you can actually use its smooth loveliness every day when you cook :). I love the idea that Steve’s pretties are stuck in kitchen utensil pots and on racks and just laying around on kitchen counters all over the world…note to self “almost time for another wooden spoon giveaway!” 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 06:18:59

        ……….and the anticipation grows! So looking forward to sharing the love with my serendipity wooden spoon!

        We have your rain again today which is just a tad dreary as two weeks of summer doesn’t really count as a summer does it?

        I’m all for giveaways – I have another one coming up soonish too 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:25:05

        I love giveaways too and as Steve was so enthusiastic about your spoon and he trialled a new design by the way (yours is the very first one of its kind 🙂 ) he might easily be persuaded to make another one for a giveaway 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 11:03:39

        Crikey – the anticipation ….. that parcel isn’t going to get it’s 10 minutes ‘anticipation practise’ is it!!

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 15:24:26

        You could carry it around for a bit before you open it…that way you get the package and the anticipation combined 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:04:30

        I’ll let you know if I succeed – don’t hold your breath though!

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:11:43

        I am holding my breath over Linnes post about what the heck she is about to do with all that gorgeous dye at the moment so holding it a bit longer for you to run around the house holding your parcel aloft like excalibar won’t stretch my lungs too much further to be honest 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:41:53

        That is so true!! P’raps I should inform Linne I’ll practise anticipation when she practises moving at any speed faster than a snails pace …….. that’ll let me off the hook very nicely and allow you to keep a couple of breaths spare just in case…… 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 17:14:44

        LOL! Lets just hope she never reads that comment 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 17:17:45

        Oh, pretty sure she will 🙂 ducking for cover ….:-)

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 17:24:45

        Might pay to RUN while she is still working out where she stashed her meat cleaver 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 18:13:57

        Lol – bless her heart!!

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 18:22:16

        (Bless her meat cleaver wielding heart 😉 )

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 18:29:53

        I’ve sent her over – run and hide, pretend you’re out!! 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 18:44:17

        “AARRRGGHHH!!” I have an allergic reaction whenever I see a raised meat clever…it has a terrible reaction with my bowels! 😉

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:31:12

        Bezial WAS in the pumpkin patch but it is a wonder you didn’t hear me yelling in Dunedin as he trampled his way through it!!! He was most obedient after he realised that my yelling wasn’t due to something that Earl was doing for once and actually thought to himself “maybe it’s me?!” YES IT WAS YOU! He doesn’t like the heat of summer and has a bit of a dicky leg where he fell out of the car (jumped to be more precise) at 60km/hour when he was a pup and was lucky to only hurt his leg/shoulder and give his poor derrière a bit of gravel rash in the process rather than being run over by his loving “parents”. I can only thank God that didn’t happen as I would still be despondent over it today. He doesn’t need as much exercise as Earl and has learned the value of not eating the furniture (or cushions!) and as you noted, Earl is absolutely delighted that he ate that cushion…he actually led me in to show me his good handiwork and as I was scowling at him I swear he got off on it! Earl is a reprobate (takes one to know one) and if I like household furnishings and wish to keep at least a few of them I NEED to walk him every single day for at least 5km. He was an angel yesterday as he got to walk twice and after pelting around a large back yard with Mica for about an hour after his initial walk and then walking again in the afternoon in Beaconsfield (where I picked up a library book and sent off your spoon) where he and Bezial managed to drown the town in dog pee he was a veritable angel but if I was to walk him 5km twice a day I would be the exact opposite and would assume “crabby old biotch” status (albeit with a very toned set of legs 😉 ) so we have to find a common ground where we can dance, old Earl and me, and we are fine tuning that each and every day 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 06:27:01

        I’m glad it was the pumpkin patch and not the possum pee scenario – I’m rather fond of old Bezial – he has that slightly dazed and bemused air that I myself so often wear…. it’s a combination of age and life experience I think.

        I was thinking two walks a day with Earl and you could attain perfection, those lumpy thighs you complain about would be gone and then ….Narf7 perfection!!

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 10:26:22

        Much like a supermodel I would be “perfect” but unlike a supermodel I wouldn’t be a vacuous easily shoved around barbie doll…I would be snaky and bolshie and not very nice to be around so those nice pristine thighs would probably be completely wasted as Steve would divorce me! 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 11:01:32

        So the lesson is easily learned – be happy with how things are 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 15:25:36

        Sort of…how about “fix what you want to fix if it is at all possible (and is worth the effort in your honest opinion) or start looking for the bonus points about your “affliction”…windsailing…HERE I COME! 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:03:42

        Chuckle 🙂 Yep, that’d be a sight!!

      • narf77
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:06:01

        lol darned RIGHT it would be a sight and I would paint my poor flappy thighs in bright colours with numbers on them so that I could blend in with the local (preppy) yacht club down the road in Deviot…I could be the sole Sidmouth representative with my err…”unique” take on a living spinnaker! 😉

      • Linne
        Feb 14, 2014 @ 21:10:15

        I came, I read, I LOL’d!!!
        I raise my cleaver and wave across the waves . . . ‘twould serve you both right if that was the final post . . . you’d have to come within arm’s reach to see the final product . . . wait, that’s Jess’ tactic . . . 😉
        I recognize a new species or two: the Succulent Sidmouth Snark and her friend the Pulchritudinous Parcel-prying Proceleusmatist. 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 15, 2014 @ 03:00:59

        Glad Pauline is the Proceleusmatist as I can’t even spell it! 😉

  2. Linne
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 16:50:47

    Oh, my, those photos! I linger over each one and honestly, I don’t know how you do it, but the scent of the scarlet runner bean pod, the pumpkin leaves, the tomato leaves and the corn . . . they come through Mum’s monitor and it’s like I’m there . . . what a gift on another cold wintry day with snow that fell last night.

    Your garden now looks like my dream garden; plants everywhere, stupendously fecund and running riot in that perfect light. I’ll remember the netting trick, just in case . . . So where is my hammock, right in the centre, with a hanging side table for that tall cool drinkie? And maybe a large shade over it to fend off the possum wee . . . 😉 You will soon need to double that garden so there will be room for enough hammocks for every Villager . . . Narf’s Hash & Hammocks. Hmmmmmm

    I would like that recipe, too, although I might be able to make something similar with what directions you already included. I LOVE freestyle anything (you may have noticed) and I think ‘freestyle’ sounds so much more elegant than ‘flying by the seat of one’s pants’, don’t you? I’ll have to borrow that . . .

    Glad you got rain; I’ve been sending the snow and clouds your way, but wasn’t sure they were getting through . . . seems like the melting takes a while . . .

    Have a great week, Narf7 (and Steve) (and Mr. E and Mr. B, plus assorted livestock and plantlife). ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Feb 12, 2014 @ 18:22:34

      There is a perfect little “garden room” in front of the glasshouse which is enclosed in the netting as well and it has a large tree perfect for hanging a hammock in and it is only in the sun in the early morning and has blissful shade in the afternoon…great idea to get a hammock! I am going to petition Steve for one of those lovely coloured ones that I can swing in on a hot summers day with a nice cold kombucha. We are going to put a rustic table and chairs in the corner of this area for afternoon drinkies when next summer rocks around. By that stage we should have build a lot more garden beds and the whole space will be green and fecund and blissfully cool in the heat of the day. I want to build a big stone spiral in the centre for herbs and lovely bright bee attracting flowers and maybe build some willow obelisks so that the beans etc. can climb rather than scramble like made fools along the ground (and up and over the tomatoes that are laying down on the job! 😉 )

      The only rain we got was a few spots but it was rain I tells ya! We are supposed to be getting a 75% chance of rain in the next few days so thems good odds methinks :). Hugs from Tassie and I am wafting tomato leaf scent at you from the monitor 🙂


    • thecontentedcrafter
      Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:46:37

      I’m sorry but wtf is a proceleustamist? And Narfie7 – you are such a snitch!!
      I’ve just caught up and am deeply, I say deeply disappointed!! It’s just as well my special friend Linne is so very super nice and kind 🙂


      • narf77
        Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:53:53

        Oy sunshine…I am NOT going down for your abject naughtiness! 😉 I have NO idea what a proceleustamist is…I can’t even spell it without looking at the word as reference and I most certainly can’t spell it. Linnie was the queen of the vernacular there ;). I haven’t caught up yet and am still wading through (stoically I might add) my RSS Feed Reader…LOL! I just copied and pasted the link to Steve’s Duke Nukem computer game walkthrough on the top of a comment on a post…oh well, at least it should baffle them for a bit (nothing like a bit of a mystery 😉 ). By the way you are SUCH suck up! 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:59:30

        🙂 Yes indeedy

      • narf77
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 17:47:54

        Like “I” am going to wait a week before opening my most delicious parcel from my mate in Dunedin…like FUN I am! 😉 …rustling…opening…”SQUEEEEEEEE!”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my LORD Pauline I feel like it is Christmas! You are the most wonderful person and your gorgeous bright vibrant magnificently beautiful cards just made my heart sing…We share absolutely the same love of scrumptious colours and I am now your number “1” fan 🙂 Pauline I love everything and you have been incredibly generous. I feel mingy just sending you a spoon but it is a special one ;). HUGE hugs from Sunny Sidmouth where I am just about to smooch my cards like Scrooge McDuck rolling in his money. I now need to find some lovely frames in the thrift shop to put them in and then they are going to be hung over the top of my PC so that I can smile every single time I look at them…you are the BOMB girl 🙂 By the way those boho bracelets are gorgeous 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 18:20:54

        Very cool!! 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 18:48:20

        More than cool, exquisite 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 04:42:24

        I’m glad you like them…… I’ve already forgotten what they look like, 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 04:48:56

        They will feature in Wednesdays post 🙂 I am going to link to your blog…do you want me to link to your Etsy shop as well? Everything is so much more beautiful in real life! Your artwork is gorgeous on your blog but almost surreal in person. Kudos Pauline, I bow to your artistic talent 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 05:11:28

        Goodness Fran, I’m quite bowled over 🙂 How exciting!! I would love you to link to my Etsy shop too – I have a direct link on my page at the top, under the banner if that helps….

      • narf77
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 05:16:10

        Damned RIGHT I will…I think that everyone should have at least one “Pauline” original in their preciouses collection. I must be very special, I have many 😉 I will be sourcing some gorgeous little frames from our local thrift shops ASAP to put my lovely cards in. I need to be able to look up and see my shiny preciouses just like the little black and white magpie that I am. Every time I see their sparkling blissfull prettiness they will feed my soul 🙂 ESPECIALLY that cup of tea one…THAT is my favourite 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 08:44:41

        Guess what just arrived in my mail box? Go on – guess!! And guess who completely forgot about practising even 10 seconds of anticipation ???? Right again 🙂

        It is totally gorgeous – I am experiencing spoon love for the first time in my life!! It is so silky soft and smooth and I’ve just been caressing it in a most delightfully luscious kind of a manner… 🙂

        The wood is gorgeous, Steve has a touch that’s for sure – the bowl makes me think of a heart without it being a heart, but the point where bowl meets handle is so a heart point that you have no option but to think ‘heart’ and feel ‘love’ when you look at it – the man’s a design genius!!

        One huge big hug winging its way to Serendipity farm for Steve and one for you for giving it up!

        Now I have to go write a blog post!! It’s going to be a big one like yours this week I’m afraid!

      • narf77
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 13:33:09

        You are right about the heart! I thought that as well, and then I thought “you know what? That spoon bowl looks a whole lot like the shape of the gorgeous girls that Pauline paints!” and it does. Steve hasn’t even seen them but he pulled it out of the ether and your spoon is special. It’s completely different to any other one that he has made and he said that he isn’t going to make any more like yours, it’s all yours and no-one else’s 🙂 I have been waxing lyrical with bliss about your gorgeous painted cards and lovely cards and amazing bo-ho bracelets and can’t stop looking at those vivid exceptional cards. You are an amazing artist girl! So glad you got your spoon…I will send off the kefir ASAP. The only thing making me stall is getting the PDF together in order for you to know exactly how to make it etc. I will get onto it over the next couple of days and will probably send the grains tomorrow or Thursday. Isn’t it amazing how quickly the spoon got there?!

        Looking forward to a huge post…I love reading huge posts (but I know I am in the minority 😉 )

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 13:55:58

        I forgot to remark upon the quick arrival of the spoon – Aussie PO must do a good job!! 🙂 I am a bit blown away by how your Steve knew to make me a spoon like that – isn’t it wonderful when things like that happen!! I’m not really ‘an amazing artist’ I just plod away…. and sometimes I get lucky and they turn out better than other times. 🙂

        Don’t worry too much about the pdf thingy because isn’t it going to take me weeks to rehydrate it? My ED wants me to make a success of it because she wants some too – so the pressure is on!!

        Post is just about ready to go up xoxo

      • narf77
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 14:44:39

        If you chuck it into regular milk it will go like the clappers and will reproduce pretty soon :). I will get it to you ASAP and if I get started on it tomorrow (have almost finished my blog post so don’t have to worry about that…) it should be sitting in your inbox before the grains get to you 🙂 You really are a wonderful artist Pauline. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body but I can completely appreciate loveliness and what you sent me is just lovely 🙂 They make my heart sing whenever I peek at them and I have been doing that on and off since I got them :). I can’t wait till they are mounted on the wall above my PC with “The Biscuit of Loveliness” for me to glance up at and smile 🙂 Steve is an Aquarius and says he “lets the wood speak to him”. He headed out to the shed and said “I think this blackheart sassafras is going to be the right wood for this spoon and then he just sat there carving away and suddenly the spoon “emerged” from the wood. I am really glad you like it as he had the devil’s own time prizing it from my desperate fingers! 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 14:58:48

        What’s ‘the biscuit of loveliness’?

        I completely forgot to mention the wood Steve made the spoon from – you probably need to write an entire post about it as I just flummoxed about with the camera and a few inadequate words …. I keep picking it up and running my hands over its smooth, satiny loveliness and the cat is getting jealous!!

      • narf77
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 15:53:04

        Orlando wants a smooch! 😉 It’s special. Its called Blackheart (there’s the heart 😉 ) sassafras and it’s a special native wood here that is quite rare now and almost gone (like Huon pine). They are trying to replicate what mother nature does herself by injecting the special fungus that makes that gorgeous black streak into regular sassafras trees but it would seem the trees are only happy when nature does it. Steve rubbed it with beeswax to give it a lovely patina and scent. You can wave it aloft like Excalibur now whenever Orlando has his ears pinned back 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 18, 2014 @ 18:34:08

        Steve has become my new favourite man! He can do no wrong and will be forever elevated, regarded. lauded and praised from this little corner of the world 🙂

        I love it when nature simply refuses to let humans think they know how to run the show 🙂 Go the blackheart sassafras!! I googled it to try and get a photo – but interestingly most of the images are of cut up bits of wood and furniture made with – I found a pen and ink drawing and could recognise the shape if I saw one now, but there’s not too many photos of the tree itself on the www

        I put the spoon away and gave my poor a cuddle and all is well in all our worlds again 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 19, 2014 @ 03:37:49

        🙂 Glad Orlando is back as numero uno (that way he won’t scratch up your furniture 😉 ) You won’t find many images of blackheart sassafras “trees” per-se as they are actually golden sassafras trees that have this special fungal symbiosis occur naturally so the outside of the tree is just the same as a golden sassafras so if you look up golden sassafras you will at least get to see what the species looks like 🙂

  3. Lynda
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 20:50:21

    Im loving the joy joy joy you are getting from your garden. I imagine you out there clapping with happiness (like a room without a roof). Even though at times its hard work out there, its hard not to smile at all that growth, even the weeds. No rain here, not for ages, just more heat and smoke.


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:33:56

      Our rain amounted to looking up and saying “has my hose got a bit of a leak?” for about 5 minutes of spattering and then it just sat contained in a large black humid cloud over our heads and made sleeping last night a bit of a trial 😦 I AM happy in that garden but when I step out I see the rest of the garden which is dry and desiccated and makes me twitch so I always have that as a leveller. One day it will rain again. They are telling us it’s perhaps a good chance on the weekend but I no longer believe them. I think I am going to be known as the succulent queen of Sidmouth (has a nice ring to it) and will start planting the place out to cactus and succulents but first I need to find a way to stop the duck eating them all…there is ALWAYS someone willing to eat what you plant! 😉


  4. brymnsons
    Feb 12, 2014 @ 22:28:43

    Oh pleeeeaaase post the photo of your wet face looking like Beaker 🙂 ! The garden is looking wonderous, I too am enjoying the photos. We have had a dash of rain here today after days of heat and humidity. I hate humidity!!! Nice to feel a little cooler for a day. I like your plans for next year too, they sound interesting… That naughty dog! He does get up to some high jinx doesn’t he. I wonder if his friend Mica will teach him some manners lol. The bread sounded delish too. Like the idea of your Narfs Nosh too 🙂 Take care my friend x


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:38:07

      I can’t post that photo (well 3 photos)…I have my pride and I look like a sad, deflated, wet beaker who has just realised that she is totally and utterly surprised with the world and her surroundings. The garden is like that song that Aretha Franklin and Annie Lennox sang it’s “doing it by itself!” No help from me aside from the odd splash with a hose and I am just enjoying my own little oasis of nature doing what nature does best. Most of that garden grew from composted seeds so it’s good to see permaculture principles in action even though I had very little to do with the process (just as it should be 🙂 ). I am with you on the humidity thing, it has knobs on! Mica is as bad as Earl and if they had their way they would run around for hours until they dropped from sheer exhaustion but Jan was SO happy that Mica was actually tired as Mica has no Bezial to torment and so Jan is her Bezial 😉 I think I have the consensus on my “Narf’s Nosh” page…don’t say I didn’t warn you guys! Right back attcha with the care and hugs from sticky Tasmania 🙂


  5. Littlesundog
    Feb 13, 2014 @ 00:49:24

    Are you sure Earl did that? I mean, did anyone catch him involved in the crime? Just look at those soulful eyes… it just can’t be.

    I’m so envious of all of the green, and beautiful blooms of splendor, Fran. I will try to wait patiently for our spring weather to come here, but it’s so hard when someone puts all of this loveliness on-screen for me to salivate over. Drool, drool, drool…


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:42:47

      And THAT is how he gets away with it! He openly admits to his transgressions (some might say he revels in them 😉 ) but he wags his tail like “look what I did…don’t you love it? I just took that boring old pillow that dad uses when he watches the telly and I made art!” LOL! Remember that garden is a separate entity to Serendipity Farm. It has evolved through compost (natural) selection and is most probably predominately filled with triffids that will in some way demand blood at some stage of their lives. I am just letting it go and seeing what happens. At least the possums are pruning the overgrowth as it hits the roof otherwise I could see it being a large tennis court sized area completely filled with purest green! ;). It will soon be your spring and everything inside that garden will go dry and will be harvested but I can’t WAIT for our winter and am going to plant my very first winter garden full of cabbages etc. and am going to cram garlic in every orifice (sounds painful but is really quite delightful 😉 ) and kale and English spinach shall be prolific. Lucky we don’t get much frost here ;). You can then take over with the lovely green shots and you do it SO much better than I could even hope to do so 🙂


  6. christiglover
    Feb 13, 2014 @ 02:16:19

    Hi Fran! You garden is virtually tropical, and I echo the other commenter’s awe and envy. It’s huge! It’s lush and verdant and aside from toxic pee, not a bug in sight! I can so relate to your hose issues. Hoses don’t like me and would flip me to the ground if I engage with them too long. Be careful. That one has got your number. 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:45:45

      Just imagine the lush tropical garden you and the B.O. are going to grow! I can’t wait to see it girl. It will be magnificent with a capital “M” and I will be drooling over all of the amazing and exotic things you will be able to grow. I can imagine orchids (home grown vanilla anyone?) and exotic gingers (magnificent plants with lots of spectacular flowering varieties) and all kinds of palms and ferns and I am SO envious of your possibilities :). My humble greenery is nothing compared to your possibilities. I hope everything is running smoothly in your plans and that everything is pointing towards Hawaii with a capital “H” and you are being gently but most firmly shuffled in the right direction by the powers that be :). HUGS from Tassie and cheers for still reading the blog, I miss yours 🙂


      • christiglover
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:53:26

        I am excited about Hawaii’s horticulture, too. 🙂 And I posted a Farmlet today! I imagine having chickens in Hawaii, so we’d still be a farmlet, right??…maybe I won’t change the name of the blog, just the subtitle. Hugs back to you from Olalla, where today the sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and it’s a balmy 41F (5C). May you get r.a.i.n. s.o.o.n.

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 05:13:09

        A new post? I can’t wait! I have spent a bit too long replying to emails and comments and appear to have lost 2 hours of prime blog reading time but lucky I have a day off to wade through my RSS Reader today otherwise it would be cram packed full and I could say “Goodbye” to my weekend of lazing around and reading ;). Chooks in Hawaii…sounds like an exotic version of Anne of Green Gables to me “Christi of Green Hilo, or Kailua or Kalaoa or even Waimea!” You would most certainly still be a Farmlet as a Farmlet is a Farmlet no matter where you take it. The sun is shining? That might mean that we get to have a bit of your rain! I can’t wait (oh bugger…I said it without the “…” and now the weather knows I am onto it…sigh…no rain for us 😦 ” 😉

  7. quarteracrelifestyle
    Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:37:22

    Oooh, your garden’s growing wonderfully…the time spent building that cage has obviously paid off 🙂 Everything looks so productive!
    Love that photo of Earl Fran, we had a similar experience with Bob’s beanbag last year, very funny but not very funny lol
    I do hope you get your rain, you need it.
    I also have problems with hoses, so glad to hear others do 🙂 If there is one thing in the garden that just causes sheer frustration (and lots of swearing might add) its our hoses. I get stuck on everything, they tangle, they kink, they come unplugged through blockage…everything that could possibly happen with a hose seems to happen every time I use them.
    Love your bread experiment and the results, very resourceful and gosh, I could not make up a bread like that!


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:57:18

      I HATE hoses. They never kink for Steve but they save their kinkiness for me and only when I have reached the end of the road and have to walk all the way back and unkink the swines! I can’t make up a bread like that either…it’s a miracle I tells ya! That’s why I was so surprised it rose up and then baked alright and tasted good hot with soup and finally had a lovely soft springy crumb the next day! I bought 3 fortune cookies as I was paying for my Asian groceries at Tsing Wah when my daughters and I went to the Chinese New year celebrations… one each, and I said that whatever was in my cookie was going to be my mantra for 2014. I am just REALLY glad it didn’t say something like…some of the funny fortune cookies I have seen online like “Only listen to the fortune cookie; disregard all other fortune telling units” or “Ignore previous cookie” or “The fortune you seek is in another cookie” (a clever marketing tool designed to get you to buy another cookie!) which were all in actual fortune cookies! Not a lot to work with there ;). but my cookie (when Steve ate the tasty bit from around the fortune) said “Don’t hesitate… (see they even know that I overuse the three full stop rule!) Go after what you seek.” Sounds like a plan to me! 🙂


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 05:31:58

        Sounds like a plan to me too 🙂 🙂

        Roger doesn’t have a problem with hoses either lol. He tells me not to be so “rip, s… and bust” with them and I wont get so frustrated lol. Ah men… the hose whisperers!

      • narf77
        Feb 13, 2014 @ 05:35:53

        I SWEAR Steve was ADHD (and still is) as a kid and never does anything slowly or ever stops to think about things (what the heck is an instruction book?!) so I find it disturbing that humble little narf7 who plans her life out the wazoo (most of the time) should have to contend with the kinky hose while Steve NEVER has to!!! Hoses are mysoginistic!

  8. Chica Andaluza
    Feb 13, 2014 @ 04:49:42

    I love soup for breakfast (I even eat it cold – is that too disgsting?) and I love that you made that amazing “freestyle” bread (and gave me a luvverly mention too 🙂 ) And Earl has a little pal that he plays nicely with when he’s not eating pillows (use the pillow to make canapes for friends you don’t like much perhaps?). Your veggies are looking amazing and good luck with the figs. We have a lovely fig tree in Spain and every September I gorge msyelf on them…sigh! Have a wonderful day 🙂


    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2014 @ 05:09:00

      I loved that first leftover Asian soup for breakfast so much I have had lovely soup for breakfast a few times since and am planning to eat it for breakfast today (nothing like the aftereffects of lentils to add a little blast to your days 😉 ). Cold soup? On a stinking hot day it would be delicious! That freestyle loaf was a real challenge to myself. I am usually a “follow the recipe” girl but after a fortune cookie (that I have decided to listen to this year) said “Don’t hesitate…Go after what you seek” I decided that I might be a little bit boring and should get out there and put my 2 years of cooking school to good use. What’s the point learning to julienne if you never use it?! Time to put my julienne skills to good use and tonight I am going to have Vietnamese spring rolls “NUM!” :). That’s a great idea about the canapés but I don’t have many friends that I don’t like (they pretty soon work out that I don’t like them…I am not very good at hiding it, and bugger off twitching…) so maybe I should just give the rest of the pillow to Earl and Mica to tear up in a frenzy as they run around the yard. The veggies are entirely down to nature being kind for once and I now have 5 fig trees and that one that hopefully will survive and Steve doesn’t even like figs. I ADORE them and will gorge myself crazy and should have plenty left over to dry and gorge all winter long…oh the bliss! 🙂 Ditto on the wonderful day and cheers for the kudos for the bread although Moby Dick’s latest offering with the ducky lard was a culinary triumph and was enough to make this vegan want to nibble on a crust or two 😉


  9. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Feb 13, 2014 @ 12:50:50

    Mmm, your leftovers look a whole lot better than mine… I think it really says something about how appealing that soup is that you’ve made me crave a bowlful on such a hot and steam day! Temperatures have been over 80 all week and the humidity is out of control. Still… I would be willing to “suffer” a bit more for just a taste. 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 15:23:55

      I never let the heat get in the way of a good bowl of soup and it has been pretty warm all round here of late as well :). Steve makes the BEST soup in the world. He is truly our antipodean Soup Dragon 😉


  10. Joanna
    Feb 14, 2014 @ 08:05:46

    Tuber starches tend to have a softening and moisture holding effect in doughs, she said, pretending to sound scientific, so potato, tapioca, and then soya flour, which is used industrially as a ‘natural flour improver’ to get round people’s hatred (quite right) of E numbers. I want to try your bread but even more I want to dance around your exponential garden and admire all your vegetables, You have a vegetable empire happening there!!!! Five fig trees! I can’t bear it. I want to move ! xx


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 13:05:33

      LOL! I now have 6!!! I just checked the poor long brown stump and it is covered in lovely green buds so that means it has, indeed, survived its transplant :). Good to hear about the tuber starches as I have plans for sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other root veggies in my breads. This year is going to be the year that I experiment with bread. I am going to experiment out the wazoo! I love the idea of integrating colour and texture with cooked and mashed or grated veggies and Steve doesn’t mind the end results either…I wish I had a few more “Steve’s” to eat it all though…I might have to wander down the road, door to door, knocking like Red Riding Hood and offering my wares for free ;). Every time I head up to the veggie garden I leave feeling buoyed. I saw 3 lizards up there today and one of them was in a large pot of strawberry plants pretending to be a stick. He soon livened up when he realised that staying still was going to result in his early demise via drowning!

      Glad you liked the post Joanna and I am mentally sending you some sunshine…it might not be physically manifesting but who cares…mental sunshine is just as good 🙂


  11. Joanna
    Feb 14, 2014 @ 08:07:19

    soya is a bean isn’t it, not a tuber.. see I said quasi scientific. I do remember reading about potato yeast somewhere though, fermented potato slurry used to raise bread. I have a head full of half forgotten bready history and nonsense… xx


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 13:10:34

      My head is full of rubbish so I make sure that I keep all of the important and interesting stuff in word docs. I have 4 hard drives FULL of them…”how to make your own healthy margarine…how to make rocket stoves… how to make yeast from potatoes…how to do just about EVERYTHING yourself” I am a quintessential magpie when it comes to wanting to store away interesting shiny knowledge and as a bolshie “damn the man!” daughter of a union rep who was in turn a son of a union rep I HATE middle men so always try to make as much as I can myself. I read somewhere recently that most of the problems (dietary) that we have today are because we don’t cook our own food from basic ingredients like our grandparents did and when we do, we don’t get to choose simple wholesome ingredients that aren’t contaminated with some sort of foreign body or other. It’s true…my grandparents all lived for ages (I have a 92 year old lady living on her own next door who walks around her property and mows her lawn herself!) where my own parents died 10 – 20 years earlier in comparison. I am NOT following that trend! I love bready nonsense. It smacks of real community and sharing and passing down of wisdom and the truth that knowledge really IS power. Please feel free to share all of that gorgeous shiny knowledge any time you feel like it. I for one would be most grateful and thankful 🙂


  12. Spy Garden
    Feb 14, 2014 @ 13:48:40

    inventions are far more exciting than recipes. your post gets me so excited for spring. plants, plants and more plants ahhhhh LOVE THem!


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 15:09:56

      I can’t wait for autumn…rain rain and MORE rain 😉 Its just a pity that the plants and the rain can’t be united more often…


  13. Namita
    Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:16:15

    Hello Fran, As always I loved this post too! You know, i generally log in to your blog early in the morning when the kids are asleep. It gives me time to read your posts in detail and enjoy to the fullest Oh your flower pan bread looks gorgeous! I loved your carrots, peas, beans, pumpkin, fig plant……phew! the list is long……
    What a beautiful life there in your farms. And yes! not to forget Earl…He really makes me laugh.
    The cat that we rescued is recovering. Will send you her pictures soon.


    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2014 @ 16:19:12

      Can’t wait to see her 🙂 You are a star for taking care of her and taking her in 🙂 I bet your kids love her. That bread was amazing and completely not what I usually bake and a really good reward and reminder that sometimes just “feeling” a recipe is better than having an actual recipe to follow. I sometimes get a bit bogged down in following recipes exactly and I think you lose a bit of the pleasure of the process in the details. So glad you liked the post and I am just about to enjoy reading your excellent way to use cape gooseberries that we are harvesting now although to be honest, there aren’t many to harvest this year because the chickens have learned how tasty they are and have jumped up and eaten most of them! 😉


  14. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Feb 16, 2014 @ 06:58:31

    now tell me…your kefir. Tell me again what you feed it? Was it date paste and almond milk? But it’s milk kefir grains right? If all of that was right, my question is, does it reproduce or just make great kefir with the grains you have.
    I ask as I went to the Milkwood talk with Sandor Katz on Friday and I was thinking of your kefir you’ve mentioned before.


    • narf77
      Feb 17, 2014 @ 04:10:22

      I started out with milk kefir grains. When I was dunking them every couple of days into cows milk to refresh them before culturing my non-dairy milk (homemade soy back then) they grew exponentially but now that I am only using them to culture non-dairy milk and am not refreshing them in cows milk any more they aren’t growing. They are culturing the milk every time, just not reproducing sort of like water kefir behaves to be honest. I don’t care as the reproduction meant that I had to keep dehydrating the excess grains they grew that fast and if I ever want more I will just rehydrate some of my excess grains (stored in the fridge) and get cultivating. Fermentation is the bomb! I make homemade sesame milk by taking a cup of raw sesame seeds (not toasted) that I buy in bulk from the health food shop and soaking them in a litre of cold water. After about an hour or so (you can soak them overnight if you don’t have a high powered blender for best results) I toss them into my vitamix and blend them on high to form a “milk”. I then strain the results through a fine strainer, pressing the pulp to get as much “milk” out of it as I can and then I bottle it. I used to add some date paste at this stage because sesame milk isn’t as sweet as cows milk but it tended to have a shorter shelf life that way so now I just make date paste and add it to the sesame milk as I use it. I use this milk in my regular cooking and in my hot drinks (tea) as it acts like cows milk and is very similar in consistency but I also make batches for my kefir that I mix with the date paste at the time of making and store in the fridge for time saving, rather than making it fresh every time I need to batch up my kefir (every 2 days). I use my kefir to ferment just about everything that you can use “whey” for. It has cultured veggies, beans, hummus, baked bread most successfully (without additional yeast), soured flour and has been used instead of yoghurt in cakes. It’s amazing stuff! I am SOOO jealous you got to see Sandor! He is my fermenting hero and I have all of his books, even a very slim volume that he first put out way back in the day when he was considered a fruitcake rather than a hero 😉


      • cityhippyfarmgirl
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 06:03:22

        Love it. You clever thing. 6 months ago your reply would have made no sense to me what so ever, but now it does, and I’m loving that. Hearing Sandor speak was incredibly inspiring. I already thought he was the bees knees, and now even more so. He’s headed your way today I think, (well Hobart anyway.) I finally got my hands on some water kefir on Friday so will be doing the second ferment today. The Plum Mead is a week in , and there is an assorted veggie one going as well…bench space, what bench space?

      • narf77
        Feb 17, 2014 @ 10:15:41

        LOL! My ferments have their very own trivets and I have my non-dairy kefir and booch brewing alongside each other and various ferments on the go at any given time. I am just about to add sourdough back into the equation, the more the merrier! Fermenting certainly hooks you doesn’t it? Glad I made some sense this time and I LOVE finding people who “get” what I am doing, not for the validation so much as for the sense of community 🙂 Can’t wait to read about your creations (explosions) 😉

  15. Yelena
    Feb 18, 2014 @ 13:13:35

    O dear, it is so nice and warm in your world. But cold and windy in ours-)) I miss my little garden, now it’s completely under the snow. I have red currant bushes, and few fruit trees. Last year I grow carrots and peas. This year I like to try the beets, because I love them very much. Thank you for visiting my blog, I love you comments. You are very special person to me-)


    • narf77
      Feb 18, 2014 @ 13:28:20

      You are a very special person to me to Yelana and your food is amazing 🙂 I have a couple of little red currant bushes as well but I need to plant them out of the pots that they are in and our fruit trees get predated by our furry little bandito possums who steal everything when it is still green but next year Earl is going to teach them a lesson as we are enclosing the small orchard inside our dog compound and Earl will patrol ;). I ADORE beets. I love them with a passion and last year I learned that the leaves are amazing to. I kept some beets going for months just so that I could repeat harvest their leaves and once I had finished with the leaves I pulled up the beets and ate them and they were delicious! Hugs from sunny but cool Tasmania. Your snow will be gone soon enough and it will be me sitting in a wooly hat with mittens on lusting after your lovely little garden 🙂


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