Hi All

Or as Mr Bowie may well have sung if it was at ALL easy to rhyme…”ex-ex-ex-ex-experiments”… which comes off sounding somewhat like “Com-pu-pu-pu-(add 10 more pu’s here…by the way I know  that there are 10 more “pu’s” because I counted them 😉 )-computer game” by the NZ band with the dubious name of “Mi-sex”. I say dubious because from what I have managed to glean from dealings with some of my New Zealand blogging confraternity, they are pretty cluey when it comes to spelling so my guess is that the members of the band Mi-Sex are just Aussies that swam the wrong way across the channel as everyone knows that Australian males could care less about spelling. Consider it a fair swap for Crowded House (and by the way, cheers for the pavlova and the lamingtons, they were delicious! 😉 ) . If you would like to count the amount of “pu’s” yourself or you are interested in seeing how computers used to look last century (before anyone was allowed to touch one or own one themselves) or if you are at all, even vaguely, interested in 1979 New Zealand rock feel free to watch the song here…


This tree has been a dead tree standing for a while now. It was quite close to our house so a friend came over and gave Steve a hand to chop it down on the weekend. It’s completely dead and most deliciously fire ready. Perfect for this coming season of feet up around Brunhilda and tussling for the chairs either side of her before the dogs become permanently welded to them for the next 6 months


Doesn’t look all that impressive but it’s over a cubic metre of uber dry firewood that we didn’t have to lug from the back block or pay for so “WOOT!” 🙂

I have been having a few “LEARN YOUR LIFE LESSONS NARF” moments here of late. I would like to share some of them with you for the sake of posterity…

  1. When you reduce your feral cat population significantly and are feeling self-righteous about what excellent neighbours and hail-fellow-well-met sterling examples of society you are, you may notice that suddenly your pumpkins are all scoffed by bush rats and the quolls move in and start snarfing your chooks…just sayin’
  2. When you set out to create a lush green oasis in the middle of a parched and arid landscape, every insect from this side of the Pecos is going to invade Poland
  3. When you focus on “lush and green” rather than any sort of thought process that might arrive at an increase in garden produce you get lush and green and not a whole lot to eat
  4. When you fall prey to the ideals of Permaculture and imagine your garden full of delightful helpful chickens who scratch delicately and eat all your pests you probably deserve to end up with no eggs and sixty quintillion baby chicks turning you every slowly more insane with their incessant cheeps
  5. If something tastes good, and you eat a lot of it, it makes you fat. If something doesn’t taste good and you eat a lot of it, it makes you fat
  6. When you give strawberries not enough water they refuse to fruit. When you give strawberries too much water you end up with mushy tasteless fruit…

I hope they can be of some assistance to those of you contemplating the delights of living in the arid wasteland formerly known as “Northern Tasmania” now, most accurately, an extension campus of the Gobi desert


Here’s some firewood that we prepared earlier. You can tell that we prepared it earlier because a) it is stacked, b) it is dry and c) nature appears to be attempting to take it back…most notably that bollocking blackberry!


Another one that nature prepared earlier. As you can see, this tree fell over our fence from Glad’s property next door. We cut up the wood that was blocking the driveway but the rest is going to be dealt with soon…not sure when soon actually is. Not even sure if it can be quantified. “Soon” on Serendipity Farm is like “Manana” to a Spaniard 😉


Here’s another stack of logs that we cut from the tree that fell over Glad’s fence. You can see the pile of debris next to it and I have plans for any debris that we generate from now on. Soon I am going to start a concerted hedge building effort involving striking as many hawthorn cuttings as I can and interplanting them on hugels formed of hacked up debris along the boundary fences on Serendipity Farm. Our neighbours are going to LOVE us but you know what? Bollocks to them. This is for nature, for Permaculture and to redress the loss of topsoil washed down our steep slopes in winter

Today’s post was brought to you by the letter “H”. In particular, the word “Honesty” I read Pauline’s revealing and excellent post about her life and how facing up to the problems and behaviours that were blocking her from her full potential and taking a first step on the road to recovery initially physically, but closely followed by mentally and I dare say spiritually as well led her to become the vibrant, vital and most awesome person that she is today. When you are healthy you see things differently. Life has extra colours, there is hope around every corner and you can’t help but get out of bed feeling like today is going to have some interesting possibilities come what may and you are perfectly able to deal with them. In the spirit of this post I got to thinking about my own journey and the blockages that prevent me from living my life more fully and one of my worst habits kept making itself obvious again and again and again…


Not a blockage per-se but this little fellow loves to live in our drainpipes and comes out to bumble around on the lawn where he hunts for insects


One good habit that I cultivated was eating breakfast. Here you see narf7’s breakfast. A large mug of tea (2 teabags) and a bowl of buckwheat porridge with chopped apple, date paste and sesame milk.

I have been having more than my fair share of moments lately where I am lucid AND aware and my synapses are all firing in a similar direction and thought has been the order of the day. I have decided to challenge my longstanding habits on a daily basis. Why would I do something as inherently foolish as that? Because I realised that if we stick with what is safe and what we know we never learn anything and we never move forward. I have been reading a lot of blog posts lately where people have soldiered on against the odds and have come out the other side older, wiser and with a greater understanding and appreciation for their lot than they went into this exchange with. I want to ensure that I am not clinging tenaciously to old habits that might just be inhibiting me in my day to day life. Here’s a few of them that might be on the chopping block in the immediate future

  1. I always want things done my way.
  2. I get stressed when things aren’t done my way
  3. I sulk when things aren’t done my way
  4. I protest vehemently and loudly (and often into the night) when things aren’t done my way
  5. When ANYTHING negative eventuates (I will be waiting for years for just such a gleeful occasion) with anyone else’s interpretation of how things should be done I rise, like the Phoenix in gleeful schadenfreude

Now in looking at this list you might not immediately be able to pick out any common denominators. I am a reasonably well balanced woman who has managed to make it to 50 without going to jail for strangling anyone but I am starting to get the picture that I might just be a teensy little bit of a control freak.

Control freak



noun: control freak; plural noun: control freaks

a person who feels an obsessive need to exercise control over themselves and others and to take command of any situation.

Oh Dear 😦


“Thank the Lord…we aren’t going to starve today!” Our amazing harvest for Monday… 😉


Dates soaking in boiling water to make them soft to whizz up in my vitamix blender to make date paste and we actually grew this celery! Never tried to grow it before. It always smacked of “too hard” and so this year it got planted. Delicious stuff and I cut the bases off leaving about an inch so that they can regrow


Mr Zuke is too cool for school but maybe not too cool to turn into 2 pans of zucchini brownies…

I have a lot of other habits that might need a bit of a tweak but this habit arose like the phoenix apparently in order to prevent me from needing to hyperventilate into a paper bag at least 100 times a day. People who are control freaks are afraid of being out of control. Knowing myself reasonably well (after having to live with “me” as an erratic flatmate inside my head who I might just be going to kick out if she doesn’t stop Pinning on Pinterest and get outside and do a bit of yard work in the immediate future!) I think that this might be a reasonable assumption to make. Throw me a curve ball and I start to twitch. I am not good at change and freely admit that anything out of the ordinary is viewed with suspicion first until it has proven to be anything other than nefarious where I may, or may not frolic in delight when proven wrong. Here’s a website for anyone else who thinks that they might be a control freak or be dealing with one.

I am sure that Steve would be most happy to have me attempt to deal with my incessant need to have my way because that would open the door and allow HIM to have his way all of the time. Steve and I are both control freaks but I am the more dominant (dominatrix?!) one and so I tend to manipulate things a little more than I should. I can’t stop Steve from turning into Napoléon but I CAN stop myself from limiting my enjoyment of life’s day to day experiences and for that, it will be worth unleashing Attila the Steve on society


This is what kefir grains look like when you feed them non-dairy milk exclusively. Mine revel in homemade sesame milk mixed liberally with homemade date paste. Here you see my little hard working grains sitting in some finished, cultured kefir


I lift them out of the finished kefir and plonk them straight into some nice new sesame milk/date paste mix ready for them to get cracking with turning it into finished kefir


This heinous and most unusual looking jellyfish creates cracking caffeine rich probiotic kombucha. The outside of this large container might leave a bit to be desired but the inside is pure deliciousness


One of the most interesting things about kombucha (booch) SCOBY’s is that they swell to fill the space that they are allotted. My container is square with ridges and so my booch SCOBY is square with ridges :). Here you can see her basking in some of her finished booch ready to be dunked into her next vat of cool sweet tea to feed for another 10 days before narf liberates her and places her reverently into some more…slave? “Moi?!”

Nature has conspired to assist me in my desire to relinquish my need for control. She has thwarted my ways most successfully of late and through gritted teeth I am “grateful”. Where I desired a fecund oasis of productive garden I have had to tackle a sagging enclosure roof that has allowed the possums to bounce their way to snapping off my sunflower heads and chomping the tallest tomatoes off at the stalk. I have discovered that you actually need to be proactive when it comes to potatoes and mound “something” up around their stalks because otherwise you get a lot of green and not a lot of “edible”.  When you think you have a handle on something horticultural because you spent the best part of 4 years studying horticulture and you really should know what you are doing you don’t. There are SO many life lessons that have been tapping me on the head with the duelling wooden spoons of nature and life that I think I might stop there. I am of the firm belief that life hands you life lessons for a reason. I am also of the firm belief that you keep getting those life lessons revisit you like the ghost of Christmas past, if you steadfastly refuse to acknowledge them and deal with them.


This box contains par of the solution to the problems that we have on Serendipity Farm. I discovered these day lily tubers languishing in a ditch on one of our walks…they have brothers…and sisters…and aunties…and uncles…and about a squillion cousins and I can collect a few surreptitiously each time I decide to ambulate up this road and soon I will be able to populate Serendipity Farm with Day Lilies out the wazoo!


Here they are having a nice relaxing spa and catching up on all the gossip with their kin


What my poor kitchen looks like at any given time. There is always something being soaked, or dried or cooling (those 2 bowls of buckwheat porridge) or ground (I have 2 mortar and pestles), or washed, or thrown (“EARL!”) and its just lucky that I designed an UBER simple kitchen in order to keep clutter to the minimum (note…I am NOT showing you a picture of my kitchen table 😉 )

It turns out that we have been tackling Serendipity Farm all wrong.  We have been trying to force our ideas and ideals on the land rather than spending time observing it. Our gung-ho attitude has seen us grow and plant out things that are completely unsuitable for our property and its climactic conditions and it’s time to relinquish control and watch nature at work. Over the coming autumnal period and the ensuing winter, I am going to go back to basics with how we are going to deal with our property and what our outcomes are. Serendipity Farm has a lot of problems but it also has a lot going for it and it’s up to us to work WITH nature to effect positive change rather than try to keep banging our heads on the brick wall that refusing to admit defeat when it comes to our own wants and desires has become. There are some compromises to be made and they aren’t going to be pretty. They might see me having to rethink some of my ideas and ideals and renegotiating exactly what I want for our property. Permaculture is the only answer but each situation is different and I can’t try to apply principles that work elsewhere to here…back to the drawing board…observe, note, THEN plan once we are armed with what we need to move forwards.


Our new lecturer (who is a darling by the way and who I adore already 🙂 ) told me to take pictures of all sorts of things, to get creative and to find design all over the place. I fear I may be stuck on our “50 pumpkins” task from our course last year. This year we get to design “50 bananas”…I am NOT going to tell you what Steve said…


Another random shot of my kitchen. This time I have 4 bottles ready for the sesame milk and date paste mix (sesame milk is already in that big bowl and the date paste is in the vitamix blender), the celery was waiting to be chopped along with those carrots for last nights most delicious soup (I have been taking lessons from The Soup Dragon and am now the apprentice Soup Dragon 🙂 ) . I had a delicious moment the other day when for some reason I decided to try and stick one of my spatulas to my magnetic strip…NO idea why I tried it but I found out that it is, indeed, metallic on the inside! That means I can stick my kefir spatula up with the knives away from my other “regular” spatula (also magnetic) so that it doesn’t get cross contaminated and I start culturing my cakes and more to the point, my sesame milk for everyday use

We signed up and paid for our course yesterday. We are now about to commence study in a field that is SO far off centre to what we are used to that my right eye is twitching as I type this. We dabbled with design last year but within strict parameters. This year we are given a lot more creative freedom and as a quintessential planner, releasing the muses is tantamount to sending in the hounds. I think I hide behind my lists. I think that under all of this collective of knowledge that I have been collating and stashing away is a little narf7 who is frankly terrified of being of little worth and who has assumed a hermitty crab shell of great control in order to assuage that fear and reassure myself that I am, indeed, “relevant”


The son and heir purchased this vacuum sealer for me as a gift WAY back when we lived in Western Australia. It has taken me all of this time to use one box of bags…I am hoping that they still sell them!


These are dehydrated kefir grains. The yellowish ones were purely fed on cows milk and the darker ones were fed dually on cows milk and non dairy milk with date paste added. The powder around the outside is just dried milk powder. Apparently it keeps them happy while they are in stasis in the fridge. When I fed my kefir on 2 days of non-dairy milk and 1 day of cows milk they grew considerably and I dried them as they produced new babies and the container became too full of them. Here you can see the results of all of that drying

Anyhoo…back to Mr Bowie and his ch-ch-ch-ch-changes and how they pertain to narf7 and Serendipity Farm as a whole. Well I have actively decided to change those habits that are supporting my need to be a control freak. I am going to recognise them for the fear mongers that they are and I am going to learn my life lessons as fast as I can because I am impatient and SUCK at waiting. Whilst working through what makes narf7 tic (not a spelling mistake…) I am going to see if I can’t initiate a few good habits to replace the bad ones. I am considering having a go at Pilates. I hear it’s like yoga with an eye patch…if so…”ARRGHH! Narf7 be ready for that kind of mellow jaunt across the high seas of life”. I am also going to read more, listen to good music more and explore my creative side without having to create “perfect” examples of anything and allowing myself to fail abysmally in the process. All life lessons…all good.


I used my vacuum sealer to bag up 2 selections of my dehydrated kefir to send to Pauline (The Contented Crafter) and Tanya (Chica Andaluza) so these little babies are winging their merry way to New Zealand and to Spain respectively. I am not sure if either of them will make it through customs let alone get dunked into fresh milk at the other end but at least we are trying girls 🙂


A close up of their little vacuum sealed bodies…still in stasis but one step closer to their goal of Serendipity Farm kefir grains taking over the world! (Oops…did I say that out loud? The masters will be angry! )

It looks like we have arrived at the end of this post. Sorry about the philosophy 101. I actually typed up an entirely different post earlier in the week that I decided to discard because it was too philosophical but it would appear that my muses are insisting on philosophy this week and you are stuck with my erstwhile attempts to find my navel where I don’t actually have one. I may, or may not have a chakra but navel…nada. It was removed in a past surgery so I guess that leaves me to attempt to find my third eye without going cross-eyed in the mirror.  Hopefully normal service will have resumed next week but I think part of this introspection is partly to do with the change of seasons. My brain is INSISTING on changing the seasons with the calendar month this year. I get the picture that nature will again insist otherwise…”nature is a control freak” 😉

78 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 19:20:11

    Your previous post gives me a wonderful place to start when it comes to commenting on this post… WHERE DO I START!!! I am laughing, shaking my head, nodding sagely, nodding in agreement and sending out the occasional snort (the laughing kind) as I read. I guess when it comes to control freaks it takes one to know one and yes, I too will sit there and actively wait for their idea to fail and drop the “I told you we should have done” line. Jessie not nice! 😉

    If we’re claiming Crowded House, what shall we do about Sam Neill and Russel Crowe? Your call. 😉 Actually it appears Northern Ireland can claim Sam Neill. Who woulda thunk it. Ah well, are we snaffling Russel Crowe along with Crowded House or not. 😛

    By the way, yep, 13 pu’s. Course I counted! Control freak remember. 😉

    I saw another wondrous Geoff Lawton video the other day about greening the dessert and they used gabions. Although gabions are likely a little costly to build (as in more than zero) you DO have all those rocks right? Surely stacking them up might do the trick? Or do you truly see torrents like in Jordan?

    LOVE the buckwheat porridge. We’ve munched and crunched our way through a huge portion of our cereal. I will need to make more than 8 times the batch next time I guess. Although, smaller servings might help. That buckwheat stuff is well filling! Must try the porridge again though. Last time was a mix of oats and buckwheat. Non cé malé. 😉

    I started booching up the world last week too. 😀 I started with a bottle of apple and mint kombucha from The Good Brew Co and the scoby wasn’t much larger than a skinny 50 cent piece. I nearly dropped my booch when I saw how large she’d grown in merely 10 days! about 10cm across and round. I migrated her up to the next bottle this time which is a little wider but square. She’s still a skinny mini but given time I hope her to be as plump and amazing as your scoby! She is gorgeous! I eagerly away decanting day and sapling day too. 😀

    I love your random kitchen shots too, full of all manner of manna! 😉 Weird and wonderful fermenting, culturing and all that oyful stuff. I too have jars of wacky stuff. Fermenting onions, fermenting garlic, milk kefir and now booch too. Too fun! 🙂

    I also love your little spa of day lillies. Lovely. My kitchen window sill is covered in buddelias, basil and a crappy pot of parsley as well as plastic bags of orange pips in different stages of sprouty-ness. Not to mention onions and garlic hanging in more braids than a rastafarian has dreads! 🙂

    I eagerly await next Wednesday when you philosophise to us again. 😀


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 03:45:40

      I am a lazy bollocks and my SCOBY is about 3 SCOBY’s all united in harmony at the moment. I love me a nice thick SCOBY ;). I saw a recipe for using date paste and raw milk as a second ferment for booch the other day…wonder how that would turn out? I would have thought it would sour the milk? I just love how the SCOBY adapts to its environment and mine went rippley and square :). The best bit is that you can even do a continuous booch brew where you just syphon off what you want and keep going. I prefer my batches but lots of people continuously brew it now

      I need a motivational boost about now. I am twitching from the “long dry” and need to get myself back out into the garden where the chooks and the blackberries appear to be ganging up and working on taking over the property. The chooks fertilise the blackberries and the blackberries harbour the chooks nests so that they can procreate…symbiosis!!!

      We NEED more pictures of your window sills and your plaits in situ etc. All of these kind of images instil motivation in we demoralised sloths…bring forth the pictures ma’am! 🙂 Glad you liked my week of fermentation. This winter I am going to throw myself headlong into bread and all things sourdough, biga, proofing etc. I AM going to learn how to bake excellent bread along with my old mate Brunhilda. I have the elbow grease and she has the staying power. Together we have the potential to be bready maestros!


    • Linne
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 17:35:05

      Sorry, Sam Neill and Russell Crowe are Canada’s. Since Mr Crowe often plays music with Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea and Alan has acted with Mr Crowe in Robin Hood . . . well, that’s that! 😉


    • Linne
      Mar 08, 2014 @ 17:42:05

      Sam Neill and Russell Crowe are Canada’s; Mr Crowe because he often plays music with Alan Doyle, his friend from Great Big Sea; they have acted together, too, in Robin Hood and perhaps something else. Who has time to keep track?

      Sam Neill because age trumps beauty, so I win!! hahaha I love his work . . .


  2. thecontentedcrafter
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 19:37:00

    I’m skim reading tonight – I’ve skimmed the pdf you sent – what a lot of work you are a genius! I watched the very correct lady rehydrate her kefir grains – so that seems okay – skimmed the rest and can see I have hours of happy learning and food trialling to play with in case I ever want to spend a day not in the ‘Create Joy’ Room.

    Then I read this post – and what is this another large alien looking thing that TAKES ON THE SHAPE OF ITS CONTAINER!! And can be used in fermenting veges…. Imagine!! Ok – how do I get my hands on this? I should like to try kombucha before I die – it’s #1 on my bucket list. Oh, okay, its the only thing on my bucket list now that the kefir grains are on their way. My ED keeps telling me I should be eating more fermented veg and just putting more fermented power into my body full stop…….. shes been right about everything else so why not this too!

    And how cool you are challenging yourself on your control issues 🙂 We all have to work on this one, somewhere, sometime in our lives. 🙂

    A very wise woman once told me that when we feel a lack of control within ourselves then we seek to control everything around us – nature, people, society. When we have acknowledged that the only thing we have control over is ourselves, and begin to ask, ‘why does that bother me’ rather than going in boots and all to win the point, things change. I found that quite suddenly and magically the rest of you lot in the world got your acts together and stopped being such a problem for me 🙂 It was a miracle!

    I see I need to have a spatula and a wooden spoon and a non metallic strainer [all my strainers are metal] all kept solely for the stirring and separating and suchlike of the kefir. And I have to have all this before the grains get to the thickened milk stage……… Yikes, I have to go to town again!

    That zucchini’s a good looking dude! I bet he’ll make lovely brownies. I really want to try that recipe! I need to get some zucchinis but didn’t see any at the market – though they weren’t on my list so I may not have been looking for them…

    I noted that you letting go of control was already spilling over into that decision to stop trying to make your vision the reality and to let nature speak… though it could be a chicken and egg situation, who knows what came first, who really taught the lesson etc. Doesn’t really matter as long as the lesson is learned in my book!
    Love that you are doing that – this is a sign of real maturity. I only got there sometime last week!

    You guys will be linking arms with mother nature and your union can only be successful – Serendipity Farm will grow and flourish and become a very wonderful and dare I say, fecund, site! That feels a little like Happy Dance time.


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 03:59:44

      Wouldn’t want you to become a “monoculture” with just crafting and become overrun by pests now would we! 😉 Culturing adds an entirely new and exciting dimension to life. It has certainly kept me busy 😉

      That alien placenta is a kombucha SCOBY or “mother”. It’s a bit like a “mother of vinegar” and can actually be used to make vinegar if you leave it long enough! It lives on tea so in that realm, it’s a kindred spirit to the narf. It does require using sugar though as the SCOBY feeds on the sugar in order to survive but the end result contains very little sugar and a whole lot of delicious flavour. Sort of like ginger beer without the ginger. It’s fizzy too! Back in the 70’s it was “discovered” and everyone drank the stuff but now it is making a resurgence as a really good culture to add probiotics to our diets. I wonder if I could send you one. They make babies on a regular basis and split off a new one every 10 days or so (just like you would expect from an alien hell bent on taking over the earth 😉 ). I will do a bit of research and see if you can dehydrate them to send and if you can I will send you one OK?

      Lol! I am with you on the “rest of you are pushing it!” and the relinquishing the need to control everyone. I guess it is the old adage of “first pick the log out of your own eye” really…stop looking at what everyone else is doing and pick up your own game and live your own life to the fullest.

      Go to a thrift shop and see if you can’t find (like I did at the tip shop) an old Tupperware plastic strainer. It works a treat for me. The spatulas were $1.98 and you don’t really need a wooden spoon…I don’t use one when I make mine. I used a stainless steel strainer for about a year before I changed to a plastic one. I think there is a lot of elitism about making kefir and other cultures that is a load of bollocks to be honest. I read that you can’t keep cultures together or they will cross match and the kefir will kill the booch…nope…mine sit about a foot away from each other culturing away merrily as they don’t feed on the same thing, why would they want to cross contaminate?!

      Bugger about the zukes. I wish we lived closer as I could shuffle a few zukes sideways into your waving basket along with some carrots, and about 40 rat chewed pumpkins…sigh…

      I think it is a “let go of your need to have chooks” actually. I think I am going to get rid of all of my chooks. They cost us a small fortune, we don’t use their eggs, they are degrading more than they are building up and they (for us) are more hassle than they are worth. I guess you have to realise when you are beat and I don’t even know how many of them there are out there anymore! That is a worry!!!

      I doubt that real maturity will come in my lifetime…might be something to work on in the next? 😉

      LOVE me a happy dance…best wait till Stevie-boy is up though as otherwise the jumping around on the wooden floor might alarm the poor guy 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 05:36:36

        Geez – I did it again, wrote a long response, hit the wrong button and lost the lot! Sometimes I think I’m not supposed to comment! I was saying about the alien mother – that I thought maybe the sugar, being uploaded into the mother ship would probably/maybe be so transformed that the hit would be no worse than a low fructose fruit such as kiwi – of which I am quite tolerant…..Any way the answer to your offer was a loud yes with many exclamation marks etc and profuse thanks for even looking into it …. I do have a vinegar mother and was wondering if it was worth experimenting with that to see if it would transfer, transpose – trans something….. crikey, it’s 7.30 am and the English language has deserted me already! I’d better go and eat my cereal and no doubt we’ll chat again a bit later 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 05:44:09

        Here’s a special hint about losing comments. I used to have it happen to me all of the time. I, unlike you, who are a lovely peaceful lady who floats through time and space like a fairy queen…and a loud, angry and most bolshie little black duck and when my comments would disappear it would have me seeing red (and acting ever redder) so I learned to open up a notepad note (I stuck notepad on my desktop just for the purpose) and type my comment there. Never lost one yet! I then copy and paste it into the “Reply to Comment” box and voila…perfect comment every time! Will look into dehydrating the scoby today and if you can’t I will work out how to get you one 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 05:55:34

        You have told me this before and I never did anything about it – thinking ‘I won’t make that mistake again’ But I did and I do – so this reply is being typed out on my pristine, never used before notepad on my sparkly Esmerelda and I shall do long responses this way from now on – or until I forget again 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 06:05:08

        It takes a little time to get into the habit but it works. It isn’t so important when you are just going to type out a few words but when you know you are launching into a small tome, you really need a backup and notepad is my backup of choice. Once you copy and paste you don’t lose it…if the box disappears, just click it again and paste again! Love it! 🙂

  3. brymnsons
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 22:36:47

    You a control freak, Never! It’d be like saying I’m a control freak. I would laugh and laugh and laugh then ban that rude bastard from my life 🙂
    Yes it is quite a scary moment when you realise that you can’t control everything, let alone anything but yourself. Feels kinda free too though 🙂


  4. cathyandchucky
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 00:06:20

    I would call you a “determined” gal more than a control freak Fronkiii. You know what you want and aren’t afraid to go for it. Take it as a positive thing. Without people like you, this world would be nothing. Love ya xoxoxox


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 04:02:47

      LOL you are enabling me my dear Pinkasaur 🙂 Nope, gotta deal with this. There is determination (being a bolshie stubborn bollocks when it matters) and there is fighting over just where you place the container of coffee…who left the tea-towel out on the bench…etc. I need to not sweat the small stuff as there is massive stuff that I am not even looking at :). Cheers for the excellent support sis (I will pay you later 😉 )


  5. Angela @ Canned Time
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 01:15:23

    Thanks for so much great information on kombucha! You are the queen of fermentation these days Ms. Control………..I only control things in my world and try to stay far away from my husband’s so that he wont try to mingle into mine. It doesn’t work well when we’re in the car together I know that, but in a big house, it’s pretty effective. And when he gets to eat my controlled foods, he doesn’t mind that too much so we’re all good 😉
    I love the Sesame milk with date paste. Do you have a recipe or are your seeds just blended and strained?
    Snow again here today, really? It’s twice a week this winter and usually only shows up for a couple times the whole season, arrrggggg.


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 04:07:39

      To make the sesame milk I just soak a cup of raw sesame seeds (hulled but you could probably used unhulled as you are going to strain them) in just over a litre of water (I use a little more as you lose a bit in the pulp) for a couple of hours and then I “WHOOSH” it all together in my vitamix for a few seconds till they are all smooshed and strain it through a fine mesh sieve with a spatula to press out as much of the liquid as I can. I love using sesame seeds because they are cheap, they produce a lovely white milk that is creamy and very close to cows milk in texture and usability (I use mine in tea) and I keep a separate jar/bottle of date paste to add a bit to my tea as sesame milk isn’t as sweet as cows or other milk and it needs a little bit of sweetness added. LOVE the stuff and I make my kefir with it as well :). Snow? We have dust…I think we are both heartily sick of our lot at the moment. Tell you what, lets swap for a bit and then we won’t complain so much? 😉 LOVE your idea for communal living. I will have to divide the house up into “Steve’s” areas and “Narf’s” areas…on the case! 🙂


      • Angela @ Canned Time
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 04:24:42

        Have to try the sesame milk. I’m getting more and more reactions from heated soy milk lately, headaches, stomach pains…time to change. I buy almond milk from the stores which is hugely popular in the States now but I like making my own and having the added pulp to use in baking 😉
        Thanks for the info.and to be sure, I’ll be complaining about the heat before you know it!

      • narf77
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 04:30:08

        The bonus of the sesame pulp is that it is easy to add to smoothies and to use like you would use almond pulp but you can also ferment it with kefir or booch and use it to make amazing fermented hummus…delicious stuff! (and less calories than using tahini too 😉 )

  6. quarteracrelifestyle
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 05:51:29

    Your posts are such a joy to read Fran 🙂 They always make me laugh but also have a depth to them that provokes lots of thought. And I am enjoying seeing more of your food production and methods. I am shamed to say I threw my kefir grains out when I changed to nut milk – I thought they needed to be used with dairy. It just occurs to me NOW that they didn’t even come from dairy milk. Me = Wally!!!! I also have been thinking of Kombucha again so this interested me.

    I haven’t appreciated fully the difficulty in growing you experience. The frustrations must be huge – we grumble when we get potato blight and lose most of our potatoes…that seems a biggy. It must drive you to absolute despair! My only thoughts here are that the guys who come from Vanuatu talk often of their tropical fruits and all they eat as they wonder through their area of small villages and bush. Don’t know what their rainfall is like though! I know you planted lots of nuts. Maybe it’s a thing of growing what your land will allow and selling or trading that for other food you can’t grow? I have to say I would find it all rather to daunting as well and not really be so keen on putting in effort only to be rewarded with invasion by critters and drought.

    Mmmm, control freakism. This I know well, and I might add my husband is a specialist in this field lol. Whereas I got over myself he still is quite unaware he has “issues”. I never used to be, not at all. Experiences that let me rather worse for wear led me to have this need to try and control things myself, by any means I could think of – sulking, manipulation, anger, tantrums. I turned into something I never was and didn’t realise for some time what the problem was. I can still sulk up a storm but it’s usually over hurt feelings and an inability to discuss them – usually because I know it’s over something too trivial to discuss therefore too embarrassing to admit I am sulking over it. We get there, when we are aware of something we sort it 🙂


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 06:03:47

      I think that’s what makes it work…realising that you do have a problem and being willing to work on it. It’s a great place to start :). We are a bit testy about the invasion of the bush rats and as novice veggie gardeners I would like to pick you guys brains about just how to bloody well do it! I get LOTS of lush growth (too much nitrogen) and very little produce…sort of a visual delight but very little actual substance. More phosphorus methinks. I just sent more grains to Pauline and she has promised to give you all some once they start to grow so you won’t be short of kefir if you want some more :). I am working on the booch today to see if I can’t dehydrate it and send some and if it is like kefir and can be reanimated on the other side. If so, I have 2 spare scoby’s that could be dehydrated today and sent ASAP. I will look into it today. Cultured food makes me feel a whole lot better. I have this vibrant “zing” now and I feel clean inside. Not sure how else to explain it…just clean 🙂 Glad to share the love around when I can 🙂 You should take lots of photos of Roger doing what he does and make an e-book about gardening and sustainability to sell on your site. I would buy one! The moth eaten sock under the bed is quivering in anticipation (or maybe that’s just the moths going at it! 😉 )


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 06:26:02

        I am going to have to reboot myself and overhaul my diet, I know that, so am keen to try more fermented stuff. I appreciate the share Fran 🙂 Zing is a word I have not experienced and would quite like to!!! My diet is healthy but something very wrong. I still have to send your beans but I figure there is no great rush now as end of season.

        I have been thinking of an e-book actually, had been thinking of that for the last 6 months on and off. There is so much more I need to do/add/try but this is something I would like to do – write the book I could’ve done with. I do need more input from Roger into this blog, he is always either so busy or so weary, or so not here it’s hard to pin him down at a time I am not busy 🙂

        Fran, any questions you think we could help with just ask. Send an email with questions. We are not specialists in our field by any means though, be aware of that lol. But banging heads together is a good thing sometimes. One thing I would say about your chooks – no roosters and cage them in, I was ready to butcher ours when free ranging by means of escape, they just become another b…. pest of the worst type. Now we sit and watch them and really enjoy their natures – when they aren’t destroying everything in sight and leaving their eggs (our reason for having them!) in places where you never can get them.

      • narf77
        Feb 27, 2014 @ 11:47:55

        I sometimes think I can “feel” my body zinging. It’s sort of tingly and fizzy and a most wonderful feeling and when I am strolling (being dragged) down the road behind Earl and smelling the early morning air (full of dead wallabies) and with the sun just starting to shine I feel really and truly more alive than I have ever felt before. I am not just saying that because I think I need to justify my 50ness, it really is true 🙂

        As I was typing it out I got a mental “ZING” and thought “you know what? It’s a great idea!” Writing an e-book would be a fantastic way to share what you and Roger know about growing, harvesting and preserving as well as info that Roger has gleaned about finding things, sourcing what you need for cheap or nix etc. It’s something that people these days really need to know and if you charged something for it you could make a bit of money at the same time. People are willing to pay for information that is precious…”I” am willing to pay for information that is precious! I could see it bringing you and Roger together in the most delightful way to create a compilation of how you work together to live comfortably and simply through your interactions with your environment.

        You need one of those little Dictaphone thingo’s and while Roger is laying on the couch twitching you can quiz him and type it all up at your leisure 😉

        I don’t want specialist info. I can’t understand that. I was given a book by Steve Solomon all about gardening for our district and I think it makes more sense held upside down! Pictures of roots and info about enzymes and ratios and all sorts of bollocks that the average Joe shmo like me can’t for the life of them understand! What I want is info like “when do you plant it?” “What do you plant”, “What goes with what?”, “What DOESN’T go with what”, “How do you go about planting seeds and when” etc…I am thinking of beating the moths out of my moth eaten sock under the bed to get a copy of Sarah (the gardeners) book as I am sure she has some info in there that will make sense. She makes sense on her blog.

        How many chooks do you have and in how much of an enclosure? (You are going to rue the day you said I could ask questions 😉 ). We have about seventy squillion and two and I am going to squeeze out that sock under the bed and pay a local animal shelter to take Big Yin as I can’t kill him…I just can’t. It would be like killing Bezial or Earl. He comes up to me for treats and he stands and watches me and he is a real gentleman with all of his girls. Can’t be killing a mate… just isn’t cricket…the rest of them I could wring their scrawny little bollocking necks but not Yin (and that’s why we have our chook problem! 😉 ). I am with you on the chooks. We are in the process of giving a fair few of them away and I was just wondering what you think the idea number of them would be to keep? I can get fertile eggs if they go clucky and they start to get old from down the road and am SO over them digging the living crap out of the entire property! Frank told me this morning that 3 of them spend the day on his property! (Blush…) and I saw a mother hen and about 20 babies toddling around on Glad’s back lawn (BIG Blush!…) so we HAVE to do something about them as well as it costing us a fortune for feed (3 sacks a fortnight) and getting all of 2 eggs a fortnight in return…something is not right in the state of Denmark!

        You just validated me wanting to give most of them away and made me feel good about it :). Cheers for that. I sometimes feel like a bit of a failure out here as a townie gone country and it is quite a steep learning curve I can tell you! All the horticulture degrees under the sun are not worth an ounce of good practical knowledge. THAT is what I am after…the real bizz 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 03:00:41

        🙂 There wouldn’t be too many people of our age who can say they Zing Fran 🙂 Most are starting to feel pretty jaded so good on you, I would like to Zing – it sounds very nice 🙂 🙂

        Yes, I mentioned doing an e-book to Roger last night and he was a bit concerned nobody would ever want to read it but told me if I want to do it he would help. He also mentioned things like doing your own small car repairs, house maintenance things etc…we rarely have to pay for anything like that. So, I will do it 🙂 I had thought of it and you saying it has given me the confirmation I needed really it would be worthwhile.

        3 sacks of food a fortnight? Wow! You could keep Big Yin out of a run to wander and keep just the chooks you want in a run? We have 9 at the moment and get 7 – 8 eggs a day so it would depend how many eggs you want to be getting. We go through one sack of high grade pellets a month, the rest of their diet comes from food not sold at my son’s work outlets ….it just means picking it up every time I go to town and I give the manager eggs in return and a few veges. We were lucky that when we came here they had an old container at the end of the garden they used as a shed and that is there house with a netting enclosure. I like them there, I did not like them running in the garden free ranging. It’s gutting to see your hard work being ruined, and yeah, they would go visit the neighbour’s which they weren’t so keen on 😉 Our problem there was just fixing the mesh to the ground properly because they would peck at it and lift it, good little escape artists.

        Don’t feel a failure!!! I came from the city too, when my first husband and I and most the kids moved down here his original job didn’t work out so we ended up on a dairy farm – me, a department store children’s wear manager, milking cows and my first big vegetable garden. If you enjoy the life you learn everything as time goes on. We got 2 sheep and some goats and you should seen our experiences with them!!!!!!!!!!! I often felt we could have a comedy show really well without even intending to.

        Yes, your plants sound like they got too much nitrogen. If you use fresh manure you can get that. We don’t companion plant, even though that interests me Roger just plants anywhere….and everywhere. WE also don’t work in the garden at the same time because I “do things wrong” and he doesn’t and that is his Control Freakism coming out. He built me a raised garden out the front because I complained so loudly but now he plants that as well. Drives me nuts, but I guess he does well at it! I am allowed to weed but do so generally when he isn’t here lol. I do the herbs.

        Email me with any questions any time, I am glad to help if you need it. I find books complicate things, the best way to learn is just by doing it, getting a feel for each season. Building soil up with organic matter is everything. Roger relied heavily on fertilisers when he started but I hate that sort of thing, chemicals etc, so now it’s blood and bone and organic matter.

        I think with your garden and your heat I would be planting alot in the shady areas but god, how you protect from marauders I don’t know. We don’t get possums etc here.

        It is a learning curve but don’t stress over it, enjoy it. Ask us anything 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:56:26

        I think the word that I was really after was effervescent. I feel “effervescent” these days…”fizzy” ;). Isn’t it the way that when you contemplate what you do and how you do it that you don’t see any worth there? What Roger just described was my ideal book. I would treasure a book like that! I would have that sucker at hand all of the time and it would be covered in fat stains, calamine lotion, oil and grease stains and most probably some other nefarious stains that come with living and doing what you have to do in the country. A book like that NEEDS to be written. I think you will be very surprised at how many people would want to buy it in e-book format. This year Steve and I are learning to create quality e-books in our course. Let me know if you need a hand 🙂

        We have a good enclosure that we can keep our chooks in. We don’t have the advantage of free chooky food though and it is like pulling hens teeth (pun fully intended) to access leaves etc. from greengrocers in town. There is a hierarchy of greenery collectors and the local wildlife park takes most of them. I think I would have to grow veggies just for the purpose but I am going to minimise the girls. I guess Yin could be allowed out but he would just keep trying to get back in with “his girls” he is a really good rooster and has spawned an enormous amount of babies over the last year. We are using ex fish-farm netting that is very heavy and too hard for the chooks to push out. We did have an early escape of chicks that kept squeezing out of a teeny space where a tree root was keeping the netting from draping on the ground (and I hadn’t put a rock) but that soon got fixed and we should be able to contain them. I will buy one of those large rolled bales of straw and will toss it into the enclosure before I send them all into exile inside. Last time I did that was for just on 6 months and I would have gotten a dozen eggs in that whole time! They sulked like schoolgirls 😉

        LOL! I can almost see the Wendy version of The Good Life being played out 😉 The manure we used was well aged and didn’t resemble manure any more. It was like soil. I didn’t companion plant. I just shoved seedlings into the ground as my friend was standing there like Hitler commanding her troops and with a large stick (ostensibly to mark seed rows but I got the picture!) saying “PLANT WOMAN!” so I planted! What we ended up with was chaos but natures chaos is a very beautiful thing. I am learning SO much from it! Everything is shielding the soil and even though I can’t find ANYTHING amongst the mass, I only have to water every second day through the hottest days and nothing is shrivelled or half grown or pathetic like it was last year. Nature rocks!

        I am going to do my level best to isolate all kinds of mulch this year. Even if it means I have to suck it up and find some money to pay for a big load of it. I know where to get sea grass for free, and horse manure for free and a lot of leaves. I was even contemplating putting an ad in the paper (or flyers on notice boards at supermarkets) saying “I will rake your autumn leaves and will remove them for free!” I bet I would be busy! 😉 I know I need as much mulch as I can get as our poor soil is exposed (bloody chooks!) and silty and prone to migrating with any water that stays on it for any length of time and as we live on a steep slope it really is in a bad way.

        How magnanimous of Roger to let you weed. Tell him from me that I am thinking of awarding him with something…a wooden spoon perchance? 😉 Books make me twitch. The best one I found was our own Jackie French’s “The Wilderness Garden” which is really a journey to find herself on a block of land. A most excellent read from a most prolific author but also full of practical advice for our shitty Aussie soils and our sodding extreme climactic conditions…makes you wonder why the Poms actually stayed here doesn’t it! 😉

        Thank you both SO much for being “available”. It really means a lot to me to know that I have access to people who can actually do this and do it well :). I am completely serious about that e-book. I think you guys really don’t realise how many people (like me) are out here wondering how to do practical things cheaply or preferably for free. You don’t value the knowledge because to you guys, it just comes naturally and you don’t think twice about it and can’t see that it would be worth something to anyone else but when you don’t know, you can’t do and when you can’t do, you pay someone else through the nose for something that you could do if you knew it! Longwinded but true! 🙂 I would love to be the very first reviewer of your e-book on Amazon. Hold me to it. I will glow and fizz like you wouldn’t believe! 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 05:41:15

        Fran, all glowing and fizzing, lol, like a bubble from a can of V. Love it lol. I will swap you advice for like then, I do not have a clue how to do an e-book!

        I guess you are right, we just do what we do and don’t think anything of it, it’s our Normal 🙂 We have been talking about running free classes here next summer. We are both pretty shy in real life Fran, Roger is not one to put himself out there. We had thought of running paid courses but he would feel too much commitment with that. He would rather do one on one or small groups of people that just really want to know where to start, how to make things easier.

        I love Jackie French and have read several of her books. I have learned heaps from her.

        I forgot to say we grow silverbeet and dandelion for the chooks. We have big patches of silverbeet by their enclosure and it self seeds everywhere. They love their greens, we even throw great piles of garden weeds in there for them to go through. They get all our vege scraps.

        When we first moved here I got leaves from friends places for the garden. Before Roger started on the farm it was hard to get enough stuff for it but we are lucky to live close to the sea too. Seaweed is as good as it gets.

        I think your vege garden looked amazing, you are doing heaps right!

        I must get ready for work, have a good day 🙂

      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 05:50:23

        I know that you are NOT going to believe this, but I am pretty shy in real life as well. I blather on to cover up a complete lack of confidence in anything that I do or say. I blame my childhood but that only goes so far and you just have to say “for the greater good!” sometimes. I learned not to be so terrified of “people” when a weightloss group I was attending where I first learned to deal with the reasons why I was overeating and was actually starting to lose weight was just about to close because the lecturer was upping sticks and moving…it wasn’t fair! I was still fat and needed this class so I did what any desperate narf would do and I volunteered to take the classes! A year on and you would never have known the shy little butterfly that was narf. I learned that people want to know things. They are willing to accept that you are human, make mistakes, average, if you are honest and up front with them and you are aiming in the same directions. I learned a lot from that experience and ended up hosting classes in 2 different towns till I moved away myself and handed over the reins to someone else

        Steve used to be so shy he would never go anywhere without his guitar handy (his method of talking to the world). It took him 6 months before he would leave it behind when he went out. Now he can chat away with the best of them and everyone loves him because he is great at listening 🙂

        Hugs and cheers for the advice Wendy, you are the bomb 🙂 (I often need a bomb set under me to get me motivated 😉 ) Have a great day at work 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 01, 2014 @ 06:01:29

        NO!! You a shy girl??! 🙂 Actually I know that already, just guessed 🙂 I figure alot of bloggers are like myself, don’t say much to anyone in the real world but chatty on paper 🙂 I am friendly, but introverted, so the friendliness masks the inner cringing of “get me outta here!” And yes, I grew up like that, as a teenager terribly shy. Working in retail for years helped heaps. Funny thing is I can tend to talk too much too (you’re “blathering on”) I have what I call my Lady Blah-Blah times!! We are complex creatures lol

        Need a bomb – you and me both 🙂

      • narf77
        Mar 02, 2014 @ 12:13:30

        😉 From one shy girl/awkward girl to another the world of “social skills” can be a most intimidating place to try to navigate. I just do my best to blather myself out and eventually I settle down and the other person gets a look in (if they are still there…win-win all round methinks 😉 ). I have NO idea what most people do out there in the real world and most of the time feel completely out of it when dumped into “polite conversation” that’s why I survive quite nicely out in the sticks as a semi hermit 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 02, 2014 @ 13:46:08

        Yep, pretty much the same for me lol

      • narf77
        Mar 02, 2014 @ 16:12:04


      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 05:51:15

        At the moment “I” don’t have an idea how to do an e-book either but you can bet your life this little type A black duck is going to know how to make one backwards by the end of the year 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 01, 2014 @ 06:01:57

        OK!! We will suss it out 🙂

  7. Linne
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 16:59:56

    Oh, Narfie! . . . when I stop laughing (maybe in a day or two) I will return and write a proper comment. For now, though . . . ROTFLOL . . .

    I do have to say, though . . . I wouldn’t be such a control freak if everyone would just do as I tell them . . . 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 27, 2014 @ 17:42:12

      😉 So hows about relinquishing a bit of that control and telling us about what you are up to in those blue dying stakes eh? 😉


      • Linne
        Mar 08, 2014 @ 17:39:38

        Sure, I’ll tell you about it . . . all is blue and very lovely shades, too (or so think I) 🙂
        I’ve only taken photos with them lying on the ironing board, so nothing worth uploading yet. Besides, I have found I will need to iron again; there are still wee wrinkles . . . I’m going to try some spray-on starch and see if that helps. Hope I have enough left for nine items! That help you, mon cher petite canard noir?

      • narf77
        Mar 09, 2014 @ 03:39:30

        You are at the top of my RSS Feed Read crammed with 376 posts so you had better have done SOMETHING young lady or you will be purged!

  8. foodnstuff
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 18:29:12

    I loved the list of ‘life lessons’. Been there, done that, so many times. 😉


  9. Joanna
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 21:34:01

    hee hee, I love this post and your comments on the garden remind me of someone who I knew who always characterised gardening as ‘war’. Somewhere out there must be a happy medium between laissez-faire, war, control freakery, rabid baby chicks, marauding beasties and a productive growing environment, where you can grow the stuff that wants to grow and feed you and Steve and anyone else… but it probably is a solution arrived at through trial and error, observation, experiments, reading, and then over again and again, and then the world will wobble on its little axis thingy and throw some weather that you don’t expect and it will evolve again.

    Somewhere in my brain there is a vague idea that day lily tubers are edbile? Am I dreaming that, or maybe some other sort of lily…. I am not a control freak, I am a leaky sieve who needs to stick a double layer of muslin in the bottom of my sieve and just do things nice and easy, drip by drip, till something lovely emerges in the bottom of the muslin, like some soft kefir cheese 🙂 xx


    • narf77
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:29:19

      I love the leaky sieve ideal. I too leak a lot and most of it arrives here on these pages to be pored over by my dear constant readers ;). Day lily tubers are indeed edible and if you would believe many modern day permaculturists, the entire plant is edible. You can eat the tubers of canna lilies as you can with dahlias apparently. I didn’t know this…I found it out…I shared…I think my mission on earth is to be an information funnel and to spread the love ;). I tried to make kefir cheese once. I didn’t let it drip nicely, I did my usual narfy little black duck (very much like Daffy duck 😉 ) thing and jumped up and down on it (metaphorically) and it went hard and sour and a bit bitter with a hint of stiff and nasty and I placed it silently in the bin and lowered the lid down on it and haven’t tried since. Not sure I could use my non-dairy kefir to make cheese on it’s own merit but it would culture a nut cheese or seed cheese magnificently. 🙂


  10. Joanna
    Feb 27, 2014 @ 21:36:24

    PS where do i find the buckwheat granola recipe?


    • narf77
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:31:13

      So THAT is where you were alluding to an index eh? 😉 er…NO idea! Sometime in the last few weeks…hang on a sec I will retrieve it for you…

      Here’s the shortlink…

      That should take you right there (but it was only about 6 posts back 😉 )


      • Joanna
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:44:18

        sort of in a roundabout english way 😉

      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 05:07:24

        You were being “polite” to old narf7 that’s why I didn’t get it! I am used to people saying “you silly bollocks… where is your index? You don’t have one?!!! Make one!” 😉 You were being too subtle for me and it went RIGHT over the top of my little black bolshie duck head 😉

      • Joanna
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 06:33:22

        It is your space not mine and I always respect other people’s spaces and lots of people don’t have search buttons or indexes because they don’t want them. I found the easy way to do it with that code, you just do that and it does it for you so I did it, and as far as I know every time you publish a new post it adds it get presto style. I have one in my menus. Love you black duck xx

      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 10:20:51

        I LOVE that I don’t have to do anything and that WordPress does it for me (there is a first time for everything 😉 ). Cheers for the share and I will be updating ASAP (in other words Steve will do it for me ASAP 😉 ) Cheers for the share. I am sure there are lots of other luddites out there like me who will be furiously asking their technological other halves (or kids) to assist now 😉

  11. christiglover
    Feb 28, 2014 @ 02:22:30

    Hi Fran! I, too, loved the post. The control stuff I recognize oh-so well. Take note and paste this in your reader: You are A TRULY WORTHY ONE! I’ve never met, especially long-distance, such a soul as you. Intense, funny, and over-the-top involved in life. I love your writing, too …. “an extension campus of the Gobi Desert” … and what exactly is the class you are now enrolled in???

    Speaking of impatience, we have given up For Sale By Owner and our old neighbor realtor is listing our house officially on Saturday. Maybe I’ll get up a blog post next week, we’ll see. I’ve started a couple, but disqualified them as unworthy. Love you. 🙂


    • christiglover
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 03:20:25

      p.s. Kefir update: I’m sending Linne my kefir grains, which I rehydrated after they were encrypted in my fridge for weeks if not months. They revived after a week in milk, though. 🙂 Linne’s “Delilah” perished, so the timing works as I won’t be taking my kefir to Hawaii.


      • narf77
        Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:57:43

        That is very kind of you Christi 🙂 At least your grains will live on (till Linnie does something nefarious to them 😉 ) unlike my first kefir grains (both milk and water kefir) that I unceremoniously flushed down the loo when I moved here! 😉 “SHAME ON YOU NARF7!” 😉

    • narf77
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:36:08

      Love you right back girl and am missing you in online space. I see you occasionally in a FB post but I tend not to visit FB these days much. LOVED that blog that Molly posted with the woman who was posting her diary posts HILARIOUS! 😉 Isn’t it funny how we are always so uber critical about our work? We “writers” (you are, I am not 😉 ) beat ourselves up a lot. Thankyou for your wordy hug Christi. I was feeling a teensy bit exposed in my post. I had decided to be honest like Pauline was in her wonderful post. They say that being honest has a way of rewarding you over and over again. It might be initially painful but it certainly clears the air and exposes that pink underbelly of mental and spiritual “fat” that just won’t shift until you choose to deal with it. I am choosing to deal with my faults now. I have many. I am starting with the worst. Might get to them all by the time I hit 90…might not! 😉 I guess at least I am trying? That has to be worth something! ;). HUGE hugs from sunny Sidmouth. Another blogging friend has moved to Hawaii by the way…is there something that you American’s aren’t telling me?! 😉


    • narf77
      Feb 28, 2014 @ 04:39:47

      Forgot to tell you what we are enrolled in. It’s a sideline to last years course where we learned to create a website from scratch. This year we are learning how to use typeface, printing and make e-books. How exciting is that! 🙂


  12. Chica Andaluza
    Mar 01, 2014 @ 19:19:56

    Sorry it took me so long to get here – it’s been a frantic week here on the house renovation front 🙂 Am so excited about my kefir which will soon be learning Spanish, clapping in flamenco style and multiplying like a good Spanish Catholic Mama Up my Mountain! Am humming Bowie and remembering my first romance which was played out to the background of Bowie tracks and am hoping to book myself into the “Serendipity Lily Spa” for some relaxation soon 😉


    • narf77
      Mar 02, 2014 @ 12:16:25

      The lilies are just about to vacate that delicious brown water so any time you want to park your derrière in their leftover bathwater please feel free ;). Steve and I share an adoration of Bowie. One of the reasons we kept talking when we met online back last century in 1997. Not my first romance but probably one of my best 🙂 Can’t wait to see you teach the Serendipity Farm kefir babies to speak Spanish! They will love being dunked into goat milk and will treat you to as many probiotics as your stomach can handle and a great base for bread baking etc. Hope they get to you and customs don’t confiscate them 😦 Hugs from Sidmouth…I am keeping that spa warm with a tealight candle 😉


  13. brymnsons
    Mar 03, 2014 @ 10:31:18

    I have known you a long time Fran and can honestly say you have always been a most interesting person. Perhaps that is what drew me to you in the first place. I felt like a wallflower myself and like a moth to a flame you drew me in with your wit, warmth and interesting mind. Value yourself, hold your amazing self in great esteem, just like I and obviously lots of your blog followers do x


    • narf77
      Mar 03, 2014 @ 11:44:57

      Thank you Kymmy 🙂 You always know what to say to make me feel good about myself :). I think its that time between summer and winter and 20 and 50 and re-evaluating things that has me a little bit pensive lately. I will be fine (once the quoll stops eating all of our chooks 😦 )


  14. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    Mar 05, 2014 @ 06:02:17

    I’ll be buggered if I can figure out how to grow strawberries. And hey, I think you WANT the quoll (you have a quoll on your property, how cool is that) to eat your chooks, you’ve got them in plague proportions! And you have an echidna visiting! So much happening in your world.. 🙂


    • narf77
      Mar 05, 2014 @ 10:11:18

      Hi Celia, welcome to Serendipity Farm :). I wouldn’t mind the quoll so much if it wasn’t systematically eating my best chooks. I would be a lot happier if it was taking the odd rooster as well but it’s all plump cluckies and baby massacres which is pretty hard to take even for the most hardened of country dwellers. Strawberries thrive on neglect. They must, because my daughters who live in the city, have strawberries in their poor unwatered unloved garden that produce berries year after year…I reckon you are caring for them too much and they are going all precious on you ;). We even have wombats in the area so no shortage of amazing animals around here :).


  15. Born To Organize
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 02:28:18

    I hardly no where to start. I’m a ‘recovering’ control freak myself so I know of what you speak. I’m married to one too, so we give each other a run for our money. I’ve also learned that often what we abhor in others is the very quality we are trying to fix in ourselves.

    My childhood was mostly out of control with a mentally ill sister who required all of mom’s attention, followed by my dad dying when I was 9 (he was 54…the age I am now). We lived in poverty after that, but not just poverty, but poverty in a wealthy community. Lots of reminders of how little we had.

    So, for me, controlling things helps calm the inner chaos. Of course, we don’t really have control of the world around us, and can only control certain things in ourselves. My hope is to one day be zen in every way.

    Love your newsy post and your writing style. Well done, well done.


    • narf77
      Mar 06, 2014 @ 04:23:57

      I lived in poverty as a child and was keenly aware of our status but not entirely aware of just how poor we were until I reached my teens. Mum did an amazing job of shielding us from it. I am like you, I lust for “Zen”. Not even entirely sure what it is but if you have something to hold up as a shining beacon in a sea of quolls and possums and wallabies and pennilessness you have something to aim for which can ONLY be a good thing :). I am learning that lesson about abhorring and being what we abhor. In my case at 50 I am only just starting to learn life lessons…better late than never is my motto! 🙂


      • Born To Organize
        Mar 06, 2014 @ 14:06:33

        Forgive the cliche, but life is a journey. We never arrive. We’re always on the path. As long as we keep moving, keep trying, keep learning, we’re good.

        Now let me go back and check for typos before I click reply. ;-0

      • narf77
        Mar 06, 2014 @ 14:24:38

        LOL! I am with you on that journey. I learned a long time ago that life is what you make of it. I am just trying to cram as much into mine as I possibly can. I am “life greedy” 😉

      • Born To Organize
        Mar 06, 2014 @ 14:29:18

        I don’t know about you, but I appreciate so much more of life at this age. I don’t worry about a lot of the trivial things I once worried about. I found my power and my voice. Here is one more cliche and then I promise I’ll stop: youth is wasted on the young. hee!

      • narf77
        Mar 06, 2014 @ 15:37:58

        When we are young we are scared of EVERYTHING. We are busy trying to fit in, work things out, learn etc. but as we get older we realise that most things out there aren’t going to kill us (unless they are our own children…then they ARE trying to kill us! 😉 ) and we relax a bit…which is funny really because we are suddenly faced with our own mortality as we start to lose our parents and friends but we are more aware…go figure 😉

      • Born To Organize
        Mar 11, 2014 @ 12:14:27

        That is so true.

  16. Born To Organize
    Mar 06, 2014 @ 02:28:37

    *know…not no!


  17. Linne
    Mar 08, 2014 @ 18:07:05

    Now that I’ve stopped laughing . . . love this post and I second all the lovely and loving remarks made about you above. I know that pensive feeling that seems to come as the dark closes in and the summer comes to an end. I seem to remember posting quite a few posts that suffered from that last autumn. And now I’m feeling more cheerful as the sunlight lengthens. Except that DST starts tomorrow night . . . arggghhhhh…………. oh, well, at least I don’t have to get up early to go to an office. Could be worse, eh? Narfie, I can’t tell you how much I love seeing the photos of your garden . . . when the white/grey/brownish sameness of city snowscape gets me down, I look forward to visiting your farm and recharging my batteries. Nothing like it . . . and then there are the laughs, too . . . I loved the song, the list and especially the photo of the dates soaking next to a pile of celery. That bowl is exactly like two we have here; Mum has a large one and a medium-sized one. We used to use them for baking at the house. WE call them the ‘bread bowls’. It was so nice to see a sister bowl sitting in your kitchen. (and Wendy has twins of our spice jars, I seem to remember).

    I joke about the control freak thing, but I wonder if we don’t develop that trait in response to being born into a world full of raging extraverts? (I don’t mean ‘raging’ as in angry, but more that they are so . . . in your face!) I have a large dose of it, too, partly from being the eldest of nine and being in charge of sibs since I was too young to remember. Who knows . . . I’m sure some comes from experiencing a series of uncontrollable events throughout my life, too. Oh, well . . . I try not to be too controlling and if I can see it coming on, I often simply hand over control to whomever wants it . . . seems to work, or at least it preserves more harmony. On the other hand, my CFism is one reason (but not the most important to me) why I like the kitchen to be ‘mine’ . . . I like to organize in a certain way and really dislike trying to find commonly used items, or having to clean up after someone else, or even just having to work around someone. That said, I have other days when I love sharing a kitchen, especially with women friends. No accounting for some things . . .


    • narf77
      Mar 09, 2014 @ 03:46:56

      We are just about to shovel daylight savings (early April) off to where it belongs for another year and I can’t wait! A whole hour to sleep in :). I post images of my garden for you. I know you like them and that bloody garden chook has been doing her best to reduce the garden to tatters and has been “rehoused” (but unfortunately not re-educated…she HATES me now! 😉 ) back in the coop with the rest of the reprobates. I notice she had flown the coop last night but she was waiting at the door to be let in. Steve had to let her in as she is VERY wary of me (I grabbed her and hauled her sorry squawking arse back to the hoozgow!)

      I have a large and a medium bowl as well! Steve bought them for me and we use them for baking bread (the large one) and just about everything else (the medium one). I adore large and small and ANY bowls. I have a fetish for them and Steve despairs of me whenever I go into a thrift shop. I am usually to be found stroking bowls 😉

      Being a control freak comes from living a fearful life early on I think and having to learn to put fear in your back pocket and get on with it. A need to control things is a need to make sure that fear doesn’t get out of that pocket. I reckon I need to work on the root cause and cautiously pull out that fear and deal with it…I mean it isn’t like it is going to chew my head off…is it?!!!

      I hate sharing the kitchen with Steve. He puts everything in the wrong bloody place! I go hunting for hours for a bowl or a plate and he has put it somewhere really crazy ;). Maybe he has taken a lesson from my daughters who when asked to wash up, practically hid the dishes in Sweden so that they wouldn’t be asked again (or broke them…that always works! 😉 ).


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