Possums ahoy!

Hi All,

Well it has been an interesting week on Serendipity Farm that has seen my RSS Feed read of posts swell to 467 and I am not even breaking out in a cold sweat over it…looks like my need to control is if not broken, at least severely bent. It’s 4.17am and so far this morning I have answered a few emails, commented on last week’s post and spent some time pinning “green” things…I need to regularly head over to Pinterest in order to know what holidays are on the go at any given time and apparently it is almost St. Patricks Day? Not that I celebrate it in any way, shape or form but it’s a good excuse to pin Avocado recipes 😉

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All that’s left of a large bag of nashi pears from an orchard around the corner from Serendipity Farm (lucky I have another one in the fridge…)

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Manfood art…

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A photo that Steve took with his new camera phone. Not bad but when you start out with 40 megapixels the odds are you are going to get a nice clear image 😉

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One of Earl’s guilty little pleasures…walnut munching. First he cracks the shell and then he chews out the meat and eats it.

So what’s narf been up to then? Well it’s more of the 3 steps forwards and 2 steps back when it comes to our running battle with the natives. The quoll appears to have been somewhat sedated by our concerted efforts to make our presence felt in its chosen area of slaughter. After last week’s mass slaughter of mums (a total of 4 😦 ) we set out to ensure that the quoll knew that there were bigger, more aggressive carnivores than it could have possibly imagined. Watching an episode of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s magnificent “River Cottage” where in order to dissuade foxes from eating his hens he urinated on all of his fence posts, we figured it was worth a shot and took Earl and Bezial down to the second garden area where we haven’t been in a while (thus the quoll felt safe in her activities) and let them go hog wild on every plant that was silly enough to be tall enough to be noticed…Steve even joined in on the action (with more enthusiasm than was called for to be honest) and has been “decorating” strategic poles and posts all around the garden. I would like to think he was being environmentally aware in his endeavours to use less water flushing the loo but I just think he is revelling in his feral alter ego and is enjoying urinating on everything and allowing his inner child some serious freedom…

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In the spirit of complete transparency (and a complete lack of any “nice” images to share with you) I show you what Serendipity Farm has descended into…I call this image “jungle with roosters”

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This is looking up at the bamboo and one of the large palms that flourish down in the jungle area of Serendipity Farm where I had to venture today to see what the (stupid) escapee roosters were having a fit about. Never did find out but I decided to take some photos for you while I was incarcerated amongst the blackberries. Note the lovely enormous wild rose

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This is the “down” view of that last image facing to the left. You can still see that enormous wild rose but you can also see a large dracaena and 2 very dead tree fern stumps

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A bit more walking and you get to this lovely (dry and arid) vista. Dotted amongst the native trees are lots of camellias and other European exotic shrubs but if it is surviving down here, it is tough!

After doing a bit of research even I am in on the game. I have been collecting my own urine and watering it down and using it on the veggie garden. Why on EARTH are we flushing it down the loo?! A huge waste of water and all of that precious nitrogen being flushed out into our waterways to pollute our rivers and cause algal blooms when we should be treating it like the precious material that it is. The only problem is “collecting it”… it has been a most interesting week learning the best way to collect it and when to head out to the garden with it. I take 2 trips a day…one about midday up to the veggie garden with my precious cargo and the other at the end of the day after my final trip for the evening that benefits the side garden (too dark for that trip up to the veggies 😉 ). I realise that to some people reading this it might make them a bit squeamish to be thinking about peeing in a bucket and spreading it around the garden but you would be amazed how much living in the country and wrangling with nature on a regular basis can change you. I thought that Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall was a bit extreme peeing on his fence posts but if it works DO IT! Using diluted urine in your garden is a win-win situation. We use worm wee…why not human? Hopefully I won’t be reporting back in a few weeks to tell you that I killed off my entire garden en mass. I am very enthusiastic about this venture 😉

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An example of how some things do extremely well in our climate and some…not so well. The tall sapling at the front of this photo is a Brachychiton discolor that Steve and I grew from a seed that we bought on EBay from the Australian mainland. Every single one of these Brachychitons that we planted out earlier in the season has survived and flourished despite a complete and utter lack of care or water of any kind. The Japanese maple in the background (the one with the crispy beige leaves) didn’t fare so well. It is still alive and will probably go on to live long and prosper but it got hit quite badly with a complete lack of watering all summer long.

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Both of these species are supposed to be tough and water wise. The half dead cornus at the front isn’t very happy but the taxus behind it is going great guns. It just goes to show that you just never know how something is going to behave until you plant it. You can get a good idea though by checking out what is growing well and flourishing in other gardens in your local area

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Although this might not look like a very big shrub Steve can stand up underneath it. I took this image from the deck and this large cornus is usually a ground cover. This one has delusions of grandeur. It has housed feral chooks, feral cats, quolls and anything else that wants to hide up close and personal to the house. The tree next to it we call the lollypop tree. We had to crown lift the branches that were all dead and rather than remove the tree we decided to make it a large topiary of sorts

It finally rained! Not much more than to make the soil damp but it IS rain. There is more forecast for next weekend. I don’t believe the weather man anymore because he is a big fibber but I DO believe the claret ash at the end of our road that is turning an amazing shade of purple/scarlet and I do know that all of those green tomatoes on my poor tumbledown tomato bushes can’t POSSIBLY be allowed to ripen so rain/autumn here you come!

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A prime example of enormous green tomatoes…one of many…

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Carrots used in Steve’s evening meal last night. Apparently they were delish

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More honest photos. The state of our side lawn (yup…we STILL haven’t cleared up the branches of that tree…). Isn’t that a magnificent weed? I have NO idea what they are but they have a very tall spike of small yellow flowers on them. I quite like it so it can stay 🙂

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I decided to keep this little Cordyline australis that must have grown from a seed in this pot (the spiky thing)

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Sorry about how dark this image is but notice that tall palm like thing in the background? That’s it’s mum 😉

I think I finally found where that pumpkin munching swine of a possum is getting in to my (almost) fully enclosed veggie garden. I headed up yesterday to water as I do every second day now and discovered MORE pumpkins chewed down to the stem…he/she selectively targets pumpkins growing on the perimeter of the patch and works their way inwards. Possums don’t really like walking around on the ground unless they are HUGE possums (which we have a few of) that can walk wherever they damned well please with impunity because NOTHING (short of an escaped Earl…) is going to touch them…they would rather leap from tree to tree and climb all over things like my wonderful puzzle of a veggie garden. Not only did I make them a garden full of delicious lush tasty things, but I gave them a fun play park as well! They spend their nights jumping up and down snapping off sunflowers, corn, yacon and chewing/snapping off any pumpkins that were foolish enough to think that they could climb. What they don’t jump on and snap, they urinate on so some days watering my veggie garden is a highly scented event. I was getting somewhat discouraged (to say the least) watering silverbeet stalks (obviously possums LOVE silverbeet…) and watching my promising pumpkin harvest get gnawed and guzzled bit by bit so yesterday, when I noticed that they had started on my squash, I was galvanised into some serious action.

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Reasons why I am not keen on possums. This is what used to be a container of grape vines waiting to be planted out…

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And this was a bed full of silverbeet…

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This was a squash…

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This was a pumpkin…

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And they don’t confine themselves to a single specimen 😦

Using my possum knowledge (1. They are SWINES and 2. They like to climb and don’t like to be on the ground) I decided that I would head off around the perimeter of the veggie garden and would check for places where they could have forced their way into the enclosure. We have used several live trees in the construction of our veggie garden and these places are a natural weak spot for possum entry so I wandered around the perimeter checking out the trees and just around from the glasshouse area where we don’t tend to go I found, what I believe to be, the possum portal! It was big enough for a large fat hairy behemoth of a possum to fit nicely through…it had obviously been recently squeezed through as you could see possum grease (they are oily little critters) marking the netting and it was obviously well used (by the stretch marks) so Steve and I set about nailing it shut and making sure that if the possums do, indeed, get in again tonight, they are going to have to work hard to do so! “One step forward for narf7…queen to king, checkmate methinks possum!” (But I doubt we have seen the last of Mr oily possum…)

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“Take THAT Mr Oily Possum!”

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And this for good measure!

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This is what he did to my yacon

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But I am not so grumpy because the bit you eat is on the other end and that is buried in the ground

My wonderful sister Pinky (the keeper of our history) has been wading through boxes of “stuff” that my mum had kept including most of what my grandmother had collected over her lifetime and came across grans knitting needles. Pinky doesn’t knit and so she decided to package them up and send them to me along with several books on herbs and how to grow them and a couple of books on how to make fruit and “other” unusual wines. I know that mum used one of the little wine books a lot and made all kinds of homemade wines. Some of them will go down in posterity as “interesting” batches (including her potato wine 😉 ) but some were pure heaven like her rose petal wine. I unrolled my gran’s homemade knitting needle holder and as I tucked my own collection in next to her motley crew I felt a distinct connection to the past…a continuance that comes from lessons passed down and time spent learning and watching… gran despaired of my strange crocheting and how I held/hold my knitting needles. I guess it really doesn’t matter at the end of the day so long as you arrive at a point where you get “something” worthwhile (to you) for your efforts and I will use grans knitting needles with all the love and deference that they deserve 🙂 Thankyou Pinky!

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A lovely slobbery dog fest for you all

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Mica and Earl mentally discussing just who is going to take possession of that rubber bone

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Earl rumbled with this large zucchini that I am going to give to Jan on Friday

Steve was given a most interesting electrical cable thingo yesterday. It was going to be thrown out but Steve being the clever clogs that he is, decided to kill 2 birds with one stone

1 bird – give Fran a gift that costs nothing but that will make her “SQUEE!” so bonus (cheap) points to Stevie-boy…

2 bird – recognise that this item could possibly be turned into a knitting loom, something that Fran has been hassling Stevie-boy to make her for quite some time now

This electrical cable thingo has a lot of possibilities but using the French knitting technique that knitting looms employ I recon I could make tube socks with this baby! All I need is to get hold of some nails to nail into the top of it and get French knitting…stay tuned…you just never know what I am going to make out of this recycling score…

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How excellent is this? That hole in the centre is amazingly about the same size as a narf7 ankle so methinks I might be able to fluke making some tube socks with this baby (or it might end up in my failed crafts cupboard 😉 )

I actually managed to grow celery this year and I have carrots as well! Cheers to Jenny for forcing me to plant them all out in the first place or the garden would have consisted of tomatoes, potatoes and pumpkins that grew from the compost heap 😉 I am going to harvest a bunch of celery and a bunch of carrot thinning’s to make soup tonight. I will also bake some chilli cheese bread for Steve and will use my mashed potato idea to make sure it has a lovely moist crumb. I used some Dutch Cream spuds that The Garden Chook dug up just prior to her being rehoused in the chicken coop and a couple of carrot thinning’s from the garden yesterday in Steve’s evening meal last night. It is incredibly satisfying to actually be able to use something from the garden that you grew. As I mentioned, my silverbeet hasn’t been usable this year (apart from acting as a decoy to stop the possums from venturing further into the garden jungle and finding more pumpkins to scoff…) and I didn’t plant any spinach but over the next few weeks I am going to take a leaf out of Jess from rabidlittlehippy’s  book and am going to start planting out garlic. I am going to give red onions a go this year and leeks and am going to attempt to grow kale again along with any other winter crops that take my fancy.

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You know that song “One green bottle…”? Well this is “One green pear” (and there won’t be ANYTHING accidental about it falling I can tell you now! Mr Oily Possum is going to be mighty grouchy now that he can’t get into the enclosure any more and I reckon this pear has a very limited lifespan)

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My pumpkin vines seem to think that it is absolutely fine to keep producing flowers and fruit. That’s AOK by me

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One of about 10 pods that I actually found amongst the garden jungle and got to eat. They were delicious!

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Just so you get an idea of how big these pumpkin vines actually are. Here’s a leaf…

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And here’s a few more

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This corn was grown from seed and did a whole lot better than last years corn seedlings

My yacon experiment has been a success in as much as the plants managed to stay alive. NO idea what is going on under that soil apart from noticing that my initial 2 stalks/plants have now spread to 7 stalks and are showing no signs of stopping there…the thing about experiments is that you just never know how they are going to work out. Jess and I have been ruminating about using straw bales inside glasshouses to insulate them over our colder winters. We don’t get frost here but Jess does in her home town of Ballan and using straw bales in glasshouses/greenhouses is a good way to insulate them thermally. Another great idea is to plant into the straw bales and we found a really good tutorial on planting out sweet potatoes into straw bales on Pinterest. I have a hankering to mess about with some rooty crops this year and want to try peanuts like Sarah the Gardener  and yams. I realise that we aren’t tropical here in Tassie but we do have a long dry summer and so long as I can keep water up to the yams I can’t see why they wouldn’t at least give us ground cover to keep the moisture in the soil. Apparently Taro is an amazing plant and every part of the plant can be eaten…might be somewhere to start. Even if it doesn’t work out, it is a most interesting lesson to have a crack at 🙂

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A gratuitous garden shot for Linne

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One gratuitous garden shot deserves another…

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I am starting to wonder if the early slime bombs that formed on my green zucchini vines were actually a result of blossom end rot because being the lazy narf7 that I am, I left the trimmed plants in the ground and they have been producing actual fruit now…don’t ask me why, I am only a novice veggie gardener

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Every time I take an image of the garden I have to move further back. I am just about on the back wall of the enclosure to take this one

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These flowers are going to provide me with seeds for what ended up being an ENORMOUS lettuce that spanned almost a metre once it went to seed

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Turmeric happily ensconced in the glasshouse along with avocados and a banana

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Those fig cuttings that I took a little while ago along with a tomato plant

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The possum obviously doesn’t like green beans because he didn’t touch these scarlet runner beans that were in the silverbeet bed. His loss!

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Another flower…it hasn’t stopped flowering all year!

Well it’s just on 5am and today I head off with Earl to meet Mica and Jan and walk around Sidmouth. Ever since we have been walking with Mica and Jan, Earl has settled down and has become a much more placid boy. Prior to expending his racing energy on hurtling around Jan’s enormous lawn with Mica in tow, he would have to expend his energy elsewhere like on our shoes and on poor long suffering Bezial, but now we get in and he gives Bezial a lick and lays down for the rest of the day in a sunbeam. After we get back in its breakfast time and after a bowl of fortifying buckwheat, date paste and sesame milk I have to get stuck into studies again. At the moment we are wading through acres of “research questions”. Research questions are the online lecturer’s way to ensure that we have at least been exposed to concepts. Whether we decide to learn anything or not from them is besides the by, we can’t say we didn’t get the opportunity to learn from them 😉

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Another honest image. Note the colour of the “lawn” in the background and the lovely in situ dried flower arrangement that used to be a live hydrangea

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The brown and crispy shrub in the front of this image didn’t make it over summer but that lovely bright green sapling is a Pistachio chinensis and the grass behind it is looking amazing. Guess who will be planting out lots of grasses next year?

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The sheoak that we had to cut down inside the veggie enclosure has been growing a totally rad and gnarly hairdo dudes

The problem with answering research questions is that it takes SO long to find information that is accurate and pertinent. Most of what you find is sales material or outdated or completely biased and you have to try to find something worthwhile and usable in the enormous mountain of “words” that constitutes the internet. Occasionally I will strike a site that is pure gold. It has so much information that it spills into other questions that I need to answer and I do a narf7 happy dance around the kitchen. The biggest problem that Steve and I have with online studies is that it takes us twice as long as the average student to amass what we need because there are 2 of us. We need to turn in individual answers and so we need double the references, double the sources of information and double the searching through the rubble to find the golden nuggets of pure precious information. It also takes us twice as long to post our information, we have to keep logging in and out of blogs, school sites etc. in order to post/log in our information/assessments etc. and as we work from the same computer whenever we are instructed to “title your word document “X”” we have to get creative because we can’t sore 2 x “X” on one computer! I guess most people don’t attempt to complete online or even physical study courses with their spouses and having 2 of us plough our way through a course isn’t an average event.

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That spiky plant in this image is an Araucaria bidwillii. We grew it from a seed and he has 2 brothers elsewhere in this cluster of plants. We are going to plant it out on Serendipity Farm in this Autumns planting venture

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Another Brachychiton plant that Steve and I grew from a seed. This time it is a Brachychiton rupestris or a Queensland bottle tree. They develop a very large trunk and look amazing. It seems to be quite happy in Tasmania for a tree designed for Queensland conditions

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Our remaining potted babies. They actually fared really well this year thanks to us paring them down and being able to keep watering them easily. By next year this selection should be halved (at least) and most of what is here should be out in the ground. Whether it survives or not, at least it will get it’s chance to put its roots down in the soil

This year’s students are an interesting bunch. Most of us are older and most of the class are very artistic. Steve and I stand out like sore thumbs but we are less inclined to freak out this time thanks to knowing that if you persist, you will eventually succeed, even if you are not naturally talented in a particular area. Last year we were completely overwhelmed by everyone at the start of the course. Most of them waffled and waxed lyrical about how proficient they were in “X” and “Y” and left us feeling completely out of place and like we didn’t fit in…by the end of the course most of the lyrical waxers had dropped out of the course leaving Stevie-boy and narf7 the clueless persistent little middle aged stubborn hippies to plod our tortoise like selves over the finish line. We learned a valuable lesson and this year we are NOT panicking about our lack of prowess in Graphic Design…we will pick up what we need as we go along.

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Another honest image. This is a hebe. Hebe’s are tough as nails. This one died this year. that should tell you something about how difficult it has been to survive the conditions that we Tasmanian’s have had to put up with this year. Note the green asparagus waving from the top of the hebe

I have met and really like this year’s lecturer. Sarah is very friendly, vibrant and passionate about what she does. When I met her she was taking photos of her desk and surrounds. No doubt as part of some Graphic montage she was creating for our future lessons and she said “take LOTS of photos. Create things, look at things from all kinds of angles” I get the feeling like we aren’t in Kansas anymore Toto…

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I really didn’t expect this small tree to live and I planted it out early in the season and it hasn’t had any supplemental watering but it seems to like where it was planted (right in front of that large pile of debris 😉 )

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I won’t ever have to trust the weather men again when it comes to them telling me that it is about to start cooling down and the rainy season is about to hit…I will just have to head out and take a look at mums little memorial scarlet ash 🙂

Well I have managed to fandangle my way up to a somewhat large post folks. I reckon I will stop ear bashing you now and will let you meander off and do what only you can do best in your neck of the woods. I hope that all of my northern readers are starting to get those sunny days that they so crave to give their pasty white skins a bit of colour and that we southerners keep getting regular sprinkles from our sky bling (clouds) over the coming few weeks. See you next week…let’s just see if we didn’t halt that possum in its tracks…want to lay odds? 😉

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47 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. gardeningkiwi
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 17:44:12

    Hi Fran. Despite the ‘big dry’ your veggie patch looks so lush and lovely. Mine is slowing coming to an end and everything looks extremely tired! The boffins have been saying that we were in danger of another autumn drought and we have some huge cracks in the lawn, but then this weekend there is a tropical cyclone due that should have enough water to fix two droughts! Also loads of wind and apparently all a bit scary – batten down the hatches stuff.
    Peanuts seem relatively easy to grow – I just poke raw ones into the ground in spring (or start them off in pots) and then before the last frost, dig them out again. Last year they were a bit on the small size – although yummy all the same, This year I started them earlier to give them a longer growing season. Fingers crossed for big fat ones!
    I have also put my yams (oka) in there own dedicated spot as I have seen years gone by that you can never harvest them all and the blighters keep coming back. This year they have gone crazy and are lolling all over the place. I discovered this week that you can also eat the leaves – apparently taste lemony.
    All the best with that possum – lets hope you’ve shut the door in his face!
    Cheers Sarah : o )

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 13, 2014 @ 03:34:28

      Cheers for that excellent feedback on peanuts Sarah. I really appreciate this comment because I am going to give them a go next growing season and I am sure there are some of my dear constant readers who will be most interested in doing the same 🙂 I tried to grow oka but they simply didn’t grow. When I mentioned yams I meant the yams that are grown like sweet potato. oka are relatives of the Oxalis family and most of them have a lemony taste. They would be nice in a salad :). I have a lone oka that survived planting from 2 years ago. If they are virulent little buggers they certainly don’t like our conditions 😉 My garden is lush and green for 2 reasons. 1 I water it and 2 I allowed it to grow like topsy and do it’s own thing. I have NO idea where everything is in that jungle. It was a complete experiment because I wasn’t even going to have a veggie garden this summer as it was a terrible season and we didn’t get around to planting anything out till quite late in the season but my friend brought a stack of seedlings around that she had grown and bought surplus to her needs and was like a slavemaster about me planting them out. I also had my compost heap experiment that wen’t feral and if it wasn’t for those possums I would have gotten a HUGE amount of pumpkins from this single metre square compost heap and a whole lot of tomatoes and potatoes. Very interesting! I also learned that “heaps” retain water better and don’t need watering as often and that worms move in and help all of the processes. I keep adding compost to my experimental spent compost heap in order to keep those worms in place. Isn’t gardening fun? 🙂

      Reply

  2. brymnsons
    Mar 12, 2014 @ 22:06:46

    My o my I can just imagine you all with your peefest lol. Not sure if the acid content would outway the nitrogen but will be keen to hear about the results. I love the shot of your garden, such greenery in that there enclosure 🙂 . I am making another tea cosy! I have been bitten it seems :D. There is an art/craft contest in town and I thought it would be fun to do another tea cosy but with a bit more detail. I will take photos for my blog. Do you want a tea cosy?? Send me the measurements and I will sew you one too. Off to the reunion this weekend, not sure if I’m excited or dreading it now lol. There are a few people I hope to catch up with. Now if someone asks for your info do you want me to take theirs and you can decide?? Love the photo of that flower btw, just gorgeous. x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 13, 2014 @ 03:40:14

      I would LOVE a tea cosy 🙂 I am going to have to reach to the back of the cupboard where I stashed my tea pot (I KNOW sacrilege!!!! 😉 ). If I had a nice cosy I would probably use it more often. It’s one of those glass ones with an insert that loses heat hand over fist and I like my tea HOT. Have you ever thought of starting an Etsy shop and selling your gorgeous quilts etc.? You could make some decent money that you could pump back into your hobby (addiction 😉 ). I am just seeing how the pee situation goes at the moment. I am thinking that it could be used further afield in the garden and might see if it is possible to turn it into a sort of “tea” for the garden along the lines of compost tea and manure tea (can’t be worse than manure tea surely! 😉 ). Steve loves it and is taking his duties a bit too seriously. Peeing over the deck isn’t my idea of using urine in the garden!!! 😉

      Hug everyone we know for me and tell them that I wish I was there. Have 5 glasses of champagne for me and then go around and hug everyone that we DON’T know for me 😉

      Great idea! You can be my fence 🙂 Tell them that they can read the blog. That way they can see if they really want to get in touch or not as I am now, officially, a filthy aged hippy ;). (Trying to remember what flower you are talking about…nope…can’t remember! Bugger…it was only yesterday too! 😉 )

      Reply

      • brymnsons
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 10:39:09

        Ok so 5 glasses for you and 5 for me 😀 . Should end up quite fun then lol. We can walk to our hotel so no problems there… I will be waiting for those measurements, (email them through), and rummaging through my stash for ideas. Mine stayed piping hot so they really do work. I will be taking photos of my current tea cosy so you can tell me what you think, see if it is worthy of entering into the craft show lol.
        We finally had rain too! Bit of thunder and lightning to go with it as well. Albany is going to be wet and cold, I’m so shocked by that ha ha ha. It’s putting on a show just for me, sigh.
        Have a great weekend and I will report back with news and photos. x

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 10:55:46

        OOOO Yes Please! You could write a post about the reunion and take photos so that I can laugh at how elderly and portly everyone has gotten (with the impunity of them not being able to see me and my wrinkles 😉 ). I would be most honoured to have my little teapot sport a “Kym” original :). I would probably use it if it didn’t go stone cold before I could get to cup number 2 :).

        We have to vote this weekend and I will be wading through the rest of those studies (mutter…mutter) and it looks like your thunder and rain are tapping at the door as I type this…I am starting to think that summer might actually come to an end pretty soon! Don’t quote me on that though 🙂 Please say “Hi” to everyone that I would have known (and after your 10 glasses of wine you can say “Hi” to the rest of them as well 😉 ). You can always get Bruce to haul you over his shoulder and cart you back to your hotel but you only get to drink 10 glasses of wine at your reunion a few times…can’t pass up that opportunity! 😉 Have a ball…you are partying for us both 🙂

  3. thecontentedcrafter
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 04:09:14

    Fried Green Tomatoes!!

    After spending a good half hour reading your blog that is all I can remember to say – I have never tasted them but have wanted to ever since I saw that uber great movie back in the nineties or maybe the noughties – a while back anyway! One of the great movies of all time in my humble opinion and one which one day I shall watch again while I munch on fried green tomatoes 🙂

    Oh yes – and peeing on your garden…… Mmmmm, not sure about that. You would have a job to convince me to pee in a bucket. My brain tells me that if your diet is vegetarian it might possibly be okay, but if it includes other things – like meat for instance – the acidity might be off a bit…….. Don’t know, just thinking out loud…. you are the experimenter and for that I am sure we will all be grateful. When the end of the world comes and we have to pee to make our food grow you will have a head start on me for sure!

    I think you should do some comparison experiments with this – plant three things the same in the same soil conditions. Water one with water, one with your diluted pee and one with Stevie boys straight from the spout so to speak and see what happens 🙂 Could be really interesting! And if nothing else might make a different kind of artistic investigation for your course 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 13, 2014 @ 04:29:27

      I still haven’t managed to watch that movie yet…as a “chick flick” it keeps bypassing Steve’s synapses and if it comes onto any of the myriad movie channels that Steve’s twitching trigger finger has supreme control over it is highly unlikely to be remembered let alone taped 😉

      I am experimenting for sure Pauline :). I don’t just toss things about Willy nilly (In Steve’s case “pun intended” 😉 ) and am using a test patch up in the veggie garden to see how it goes. Steve, on the other hand, is taking his newfound freedom to extremes. I keep trying to tell him that peeing off the deck onto the poor plants below is probably NOT a good thing but it seems a terrible shame to prevent something that is causing him such joy 😉

      I will set up an experiment even if it is just to prove to Steve that it might be wise to “point Percy at the porcelain” a little further away from home 😉

      Reply

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Mar 13, 2014 @ 04:44:35

        It is not your typical chick flick and has some supreme moments with cars that even Steve may enjoy 🙂

        My heart is warmed by your love for your man and your willingness to therefore be at peace with the deck and peeing scenario. God bless them – I forgot to mention I do see it having absolute use though in the whole territory claiming thing – if you could get him off the deck and out around the perimeter of your property you may even get rid of the possums 🙂 Now there’s a thought! How big is Serendipity Farm?

      • narf77
        Mar 13, 2014 @ 04:58:07

        Yeah…good try Pauline, but with that many “chicks” in it (Hollywood stars or not…) it is firmly placed in the “CHICK FLICK” genre in this house 😉

        Not at peace…wanting to “keep the peace” a much different thing. The only thing that is stopping me racing out whenever he sets foot on the deck with a glass to catch his deposits is that the garden under the deck is predominately full of HIS plants. If he kills them…I consider it a life lesson of sorts 🙂

        The pee seems to have worked on the quolls but possums, I fear, LOVE stink. They make enough of it themselves and love wiping their oily little bodies over windows when questing for leftover cheese that the cuckoo shrike decided he was too full to scoff. I would imagine they would do what Earl does when he comes across a dead and most foetid carcass of roadkill on the verge (attempts to do…only “does” when my mind is otherwise occupied…) and roll in it to cover themselves in that glorious new scent (Steve’s eu de hombre would most likely be like Chanel number 5 to possums 😉 ) and all we need is possums reeking of Steve’s pee to add to the scented delight that is currently Serendipity Farm! 😉

  4. quarteracrelifestyle
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 06:06:27

    What a beautiful and intersting flower that pink one is, how pretty!
    Unlike Sarah we had no luck with our peanuts, they did absolutely nothing, were planted and that’s the last we saw of them.
    I do love River Cottage and that’s a great idea to pee on everything, to mark your territory. Honestly those possums should be trapped (would anyone know?) Could you shift them to live by the beach? That would drive me to despair and some whopping tantrums!
    Bob was a nut lover too, preferably with raisins which they are not allowed apparently. I found this out after decades of training my puppies with wee handfuls of raisins.
    And so nice to read of your inherited knitting needles etc, you will enjoy those…stuff like that is so special to have and work with. I look forward to reading of your mammoth socks on your potential french knitting machine 😉 🙂 Gosh that bought back memories, one of my favourite things to do as a kid.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 04:27:50

      Gran always had some interesting crafty thing for us to do that she kept in a large box in another room. whenever we would get “fractious” (her word) she would pull it out and hand us some yarn/wool/cotton (whatever was needed to accomplish said “craft”) and would show us how to use the latest thing. Grandad was a carpenter by trade and so we had mini looms and all kinds of homemade wonders. I always remember the wooden cotton reels with nails in them for French Knitting :). I am going to turn Mr Oily possum into ugg boots if he finds his way in again. Vegan be damned! 😉 Bezial used to nibble the fruit from our fuchsias! I thought he was going to die till I found out that they are entirely edible. I know that dogs can’t have dried fruit and that grapes are especially bad for them but what would they eat in the wild? My guess is that their instincts would kick in and they would eat whatever they could get their beaks on and that would include fruit! I forgot to take a photo of the knitting needles but with 54 images to wade through and a mammoth post I didn’t think I should expect any more of my dear constant readers 😉 I am going to HAVE to go and see what this “beautiful flower” is that I posted! I have NO idea what it is and can’t for the life of me even remember posting a photo of a flower? Oh…wait a minute! I think you mean the Stapelia gigantean! Its beautiful but smells like a skunk that just sprayed…actually strike that, it smells like a corpse! Like most things that are beautiful, it has a rotten twist 😉

      Reply

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 06:06:25

        It’s very beautiful, what a shame it smells so bad lol.

        When my granddaughter comes we paint and draw for each other, or press flowers etc in “Nana’s art room”, she loves it in there 🙂 I hope she keeps such lovely memories of this as you have of your grandparents. Mum was a knitter and taught me very young, I taught the three boys to knit but the girls weren’t interested!!

        Funny your dog ate fuchsia buds, I guess you are right, they would just go by instinct and eat whatever.

      • narf77
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 10:51:24

        My daughters could care less about knitting and I learned from my grandmother, not my mum. I think your granddaughter is going to remember those times spent in Nanas art room as precious :). I remember watching my grandmother with my eldest daughter standing teaching her how to make doll party tea and pouring her (water) tea in tiny cups for her dolls. Memories are really precious. She might have been gone for years but she isn’t gone in my head 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 14, 2014 @ 19:21:15

        Good grandmas are pretty special people 🙂

      • narf77
        Mar 15, 2014 @ 04:09:59

        They certainly are and mine was the bomb 🙂 I reckon you are shaping up to be pretty incendiary yourself 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 15, 2014 @ 16:23:06

        🙂 It’s not hard 🙂 And I get to eat ice creams and play!

      • narf77
        Mar 17, 2014 @ 03:51:54

        Where do I find me one of those grandkiddy things! Icecreams and play? I am going to encourage the son-and-heir ASAP! 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 17, 2014 @ 05:31:59

        Lol, it’s good fun. Yes, you can’t buy one it has to be bred and sometimes you have to wait rather too long but hopefully by the time they come along we aren’t too old for hopscotch etc.

      • narf77
        Mar 17, 2014 @ 05:34:29

        Or forget how good ice cream is…”HURRY UP STEWART AND KELSEY!!!” 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Mar 17, 2014 @ 05:42:22

        Lol.

  5. Elizabeth Mars
    Mar 13, 2014 @ 16:35:28

    All those green tomatoes will make an awesome relish. I had fried green tomato burger when I was in Melbourne and it was really really good.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 04:29:05

      Cheers for that Elizabeth :). I was starting to get worried as I have a whole LOT of them and there is only so much green tomato relish that the two of us can eat. Steve is going to make some green tomato wine. Not sure how that is going to go, but I also found a recipe/method for fermenting them so at least they won’t go to waste 🙂

      Reply

  6. Littlesundog
    Mar 14, 2014 @ 02:41:09

    Those wretched possums give us fits here in the Midwest US too. I don’t mind sharing, but I wish they had a little etiquette in respectfulness! You’re flora and fauna is sometimes the same or similar to ours, and yet diverse with many plants and critters that I’ve never heard of… I find it all so interesting to compare. The slobbery dog fest was my favorite photograph of course. We don’t have a crew like that here, but I have three small, hairy chin that at least deserve the annoying shedding hair award.

    I have read on the urine idea, and I think I shall try it this year. It’s such a simple thing to do and the benefits are great.

    Ah, now that I’ve had my two cups of coffee and my good morning read, I’m ready to go out in the (finally) warm weather and get to a little gardening. All of those shots of veggies and fruits have inspired me!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 14, 2014 @ 04:32:30

      Using urine (free) as a nitrogenous source is a great idea. Our parents parents did it so that’s good enough for me! I water it down well and as Steve, Bezial and Earl are proving, it is a powerful reminder to the native animals that something higher up the food chain to them is living very close. We haven’t seen sight nor sign of Mrs quoll since they started “marking their territory” on a regular basis ;). Glad you liked the slobbery dog fest and Earl was posing for that shot with the zucchini just for you ;). You should put a few images of your gorgeous little chin on your blog so that we can see them 🙂 Glad I motivated someone as I thought that 54 images might just drive most of you guys away! 😉 Have fun out in the garden and heres to a fantastic gardening year for you 🙂

      Reply

  7. christiglover
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 02:34:21

    The Bearded One pees all around the property, willy-nilly, and not just because it is easy for him, but he has long said it keeps the coyotes away. I have yet to collect, as you have, but perhaps that will be for Hawaii. 🙂 You have palm trees! No palm trees here, but I’m sure we’ll have one in Hawaii. Stay tuned, we’ll be there in a month! Love and hugs. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 15, 2014 @ 04:19:51

      You will have COCONUT TREES! (Are you getting the picture that I am fascinated by coconuts? 😉 ) Glad Steve isn’t the only feral around ;). My pee is much weaker than Steve’s and I water it down a LOT and use it on the compost heap. I was talking to my wonderful daughters on the phone yesterday and they must still be reading my blog as they said “We don’t want any more of your vegetables if you are peeing all over them!” 😉 I guess it shows that they are still reading the blog 😉 You can grow peanuts as well! You will be able to have the most amazing tropical garden. Don’t forget taro, you can eat just about every part of it and you can hurl yourself into permaculture in a HUGE way as everything is aimed at tropical permaculture and you can have the most amazing garden with very little effort…think mangos, think pineapples…think COCONUTS! 🙂 I think I am going to have to go and have a little lay down now. All of that possibility is making me faint 🙂

      Reply

  8. Yelena
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 03:34:21

    Absolutely fantastic vegetables! I have delicious recipe for green tomato jam if you have too much tomatoes-)

    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Hugs,

    Yelena

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 15, 2014 @ 04:08:56

      Yes PLEASE Yelana! I think that is all I am going to have this year as none of them have ripened. It was a very late start to the year as we had a LOT of rain in November and by the time it came around to getting tomatoes in most of us were late. I have a great crop of green ones but none of them have ripened. Cheers for thinking of me and HUGS for the recipe 🙂 I will make the jam and will link back to your blog so my dear constant readers can check out your gorgeous blog as well 🙂

      Reply

  9. Angela @ Canned Time
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 07:24:24

    You just need to find a way to get the quoll to eat the possum, yes?
    Gorgeous peas you’ve grown, but then with all the fermentation you’ve been drinking who could lose with your pee Girlfriend. I’m almost peeing myself reading about you two and your adventures there.
    Don’t think peeing in our shrubs would go over too well here in the city unfortunately, it usually gets you in the slammer for at least a night if you’re caught…..

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 15, 2014 @ 07:34:37

      Funny how they are dead keen on my chooks but not so fussy on the plethora of possums that I spy with my little eye (and torch) when I head out at night onto the deck…you can see eyes everywhere! They aren’t just in the trees either, they are walking around (the big ones have no fear…) all over the place and if they take offence they scream at you to turn the light off…cheeky buggers! LOL about the pee by the way ;). My 2 (adult) daughters and I were having a chat on the phone yesterday when they said “By the way mum…NO more veggies for us ok? We KNOW what you are doing to them!” ROTFL! At least they are still reading my blog 😉 Tell you what…if I ever win the lottery (note to self…buy lotto ticket…) I am going to wing it over there…will drop by your place (in a limo…can’t be doing this in ANYTHING but style…) we will both head to the nearest big park and will pee with impunity! I reckon it will be worth the bail money just to see the judges face when we inform him that we are eco warriors and are doing our bit for the earth 😉

      Reply

  10. Joanna
    Mar 15, 2014 @ 10:24:06

    Wee on! I wish the foxes round here would take any notice of my poor little dogs’ attempts at scent marking, it gets quite frantic here some nights, with Zeb chasing Foxie round the garden. I have suggested to Brian that he pee outdoor and he just gives me a look, well done that Steve! I love your flowers and your perfect peas and I hope that the rain comes in properly soon, it has been far too long for you. We were treated to a sight of the Fearnley arse the other night on the tv as he climbed into an outdoor bathtub on a Swedish verandah with a view. Fortunately it was a long shot not a close up 🙂 Anyway carry on watering the soil and returning your nitrogen to earth, all good stuff. I threw my kefir whey on the veg bed the other day having read that was a good thing too xx Jo

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 15, 2014 @ 10:58:56

      Isn’t all this primal fecundity a blast! 😉 I got to see Hugh apparently naked in a HUGE vat of tomatoes not so long back…not sure I am ever going to recover from that one! Love the bloke though and believe wholeheartedly that he doing this for more than profit (unlike Jamie Oliver who is just a twat 😉 ). That lovely flower STINKS of rotten meat and I get the distinct suspicion that Steve has been peeing over the deck onto the poor long suffering maples below as they have distinctive marks on them…must have a chat to Stevie-boy! Get Brian to pee ON the fox…I reckon that would be enough to ensure he never comes back ;). That pea was perfect. I loved how it looked and the photo I took. I was dead chuffed about it in all and as I ate it, I really savoured the moment…that was right about when I noticed the clouds of white flies descending on the garden…sigh…its threatening to rain out there but its almost like we have an invisible signal that says “pass along…no rain here please!” as just about everywhere else in Tassie has had rain lately! Sigh…Oh well, maybe the white fly (who HATE the cold) are making a large S.O.S. at the clouds and warning them off ;). Have a great weekend Joanna…I have to vote today but there aren’t any good candidates so I have to choose the best of a bad lot 😦 Maybe I should run for it next time “Vote narf7 for Bass” sounds good to me! 😉

      Reply

  11. Spy Garden
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 02:13:11

    I guess your busy RSS feed explains why I haven’t seen you over at Spy Garden, but I miss you so! I am so sorry about the possums. How frustrating. But you made me laugh about the urine. HAHAHAhahha “Worm-wee why not human?” INDEED> HAHAHAHhahah I just love your tent it looks so magical under there!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 03:54:14

      Yup…I have had a week off RSS Feed reading and it has been delightful. So delightful that I am going to purge all of my vegan food blogs (a LOT) that don’t get penned by my dear constant readers (you are safe Hannah 😉 ) in order to make it a whole lot easier to get from “A” to “Spygarden” 😉 I will be back soon…just on holidays 😉

      Reply

  12. Born To Organize
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 04:17:35

    I hope the patch job works and keeps those clever possums at bay. They’ve been around since prehistoric times, so methinks they’ve made some remarkable adaptions, much to our chagrin. My squash receive a similar fate, though around here it could be possums, rats or squirrels. One thing I tried (and it seemed to work) was to wrap each developing pumpkin in a nylon stocking. Apparently they don’t like the texture at all. Because it is stretchy and transparent, they continue to grow and receive light. It might we worth a go. Perhaps a thrift shop would be a good source, or if you know anyone that still wears those ghastly things, ask for the rejects.

    The peas are beautiful. Yum!

    I love your sense of humour.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 04:00:55

      I think if I didn’t have a sense of humour I would be under the bed sniffling into a pair of pantyhose without the will or ability to squeeze back out to tackle another onslaught of the little buggers! It actually (and most blissfully) RAINED yesterday! I got up to a landscape that was sighing in happiness. You could smell the plants delight as all of the eucalyptus leaves released their delicious scent and walking was delightful for both Steve and I and the dogs (washed away all of the competing doggy smells and they could spray theirs EVERYWHERE anew 😉 ). Great idea about the nylons. I will check out the underpants section (seriously…”UNDERPANTS SECONDHAND SECTION?!!!”) when I head into my local thrift shop in Exeter. I have a couple of experimental ex t-shirt slings holding some pumpkins up against the side of the enclosure but when the possums started to munch them I lost my will to string up chewed pumpkins :(. The vines keep growing and producing but it’s the end of the season now and most of the smaller fruits are withering as they seem to know that cold times are ahead. Hopefully I get at least a couple of them as a reward for all of that supplemental watering I did over the long dry summer but I am preaching to the converted with you…you know EXACTLY what I mean as you are in the throes of drought and more drought. Hows this for an excellent idea? http://legacy.seedsavers.net/seedblog/jude-fanton/2010/sink-and-wall-your-garden-arid-zones gotta LERVE Pinterest 😉

      Reply

  13. Linne
    Mar 16, 2014 @ 14:08:49

    Cheers for the extra garden photos, my friend! Finally got here for my weekly dose of laughter, only to find the comments equally funny. You are so inspiring!

    I’ve heard of human pee keeping away various pests, but haven’t tried it myself. As to using pee or other human waste for fertilizer, my preference would be to compost it well beforehand. I had thought that if I had a woodlot, I would use the compost on that, but I know in China and other places they use composted ‘night soil’ on gardens, too. An interesting subject, eh? Makes me think of that nursery rhyme “this little piggy went wee, wee, wee, all the way home”. 😉

    I think that flower is gorgeous; too bad it’s odoriferous 😉 And I know what you mean about dogs and their ‘perfumes’ . . . try large hairy collie after rolling in very rotten dead salmon on salty beach with rotten seaweed thrown in for that extra ‘something’ . . . I will say no more . . .

    Mum used to make Fried Green Tomatoes; she sliced them, lay them on paper towels to absorb some of the moisture, dipped them in seasoned flour, then in an egg-based batter (beer batter is yum, too), then fried them. MMMMmmmmmmmmm…………. I’m sure you can tweak that one, too . . .

    Those quoll and possums, eh? There’s a fly in every vat of ointment . . . too bad you’re not carnivorous; I’d be tempted to suggest a large BBQ! You could invite any not so friendly neighbours . . .

    Love your new spool knitter. I started out with wooden spools with four finishing nails hammered into the top of them, too. My FES had a red wooden one that he loved and I still have it, along with the fairly decent sized coaster that he was stitching as he worked. It was meant to use on our table for the hot pots, but never was finished (where did he get THAT from, I wonder?). The work is still attached to the knitter and I love the memories that come back when I see it. He’ll get it one day; I wonder if he’ll finish it then . . . 😉

    Have a great week and I wish you rain. We have hardly any snow left here, which feels downright weird for this early in the year. I’m waiting for some huge snowfall anytime now . . . Last year, the final fall was in mid-May. In Victoria, BC, they have an annual ‘flower count’ in mid-February, where people count the blossoms in their gardens and phone the number in to a local radio or tv station; which is then pleased to share the information across the rest of the snow-bound country. Great fun if you live on the coast . . . people include the blossoms on things like the flowering Japanese plums (guestimating, I would think and likely enhancing the number upwards to some degree) 😉

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 17, 2014 @ 04:08:13

      Stinky dogs eh? I have NEVER had one of those ;). Those tomatoes sound delish…might be able to call them “tempura” and serve them over some scrumptious rice. Great idea for making a rug!!! You keep coming up with them and I will bastardise them out the wazoo…my take…use my enormous French sock knitter and use t-shirt material to “French knit” BIGTIME and then use that enormous cable to make things with. Just imagine the thick rug that you could make out of a coil like that! I could use the blue twine that comes on bags of chook wheat to make one for Steve’s shed (chook poo wiping feet anyone? 😉 )…LOTS of possibilities and a wide tube would make up a rug a whole lot quicker 🙂

      I love the idea about a flower count, it is a sign of hope and when you are snowed in up to your armpits hope is a good thing! We don’t have that here but I get the feeling this is going to be a long, dry, frigid winter. It is just shaping up to it and we are taking the warning heads on and are going to be getting our firewood in quick smart to make sure that we have enough to keep Brunhilda chuffing along 24/7 for about 6 or so months till we have to start complaining about the heat all over again 😉 You have an excellent week too ma’am and don’t let that cold get you down. Sooner than you know it you will be wallowing in warm days and blue skies 🙂

      Reply

  14. Chica Andaluza
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 05:45:02

    Pee, peas, possums, plants and then veggies and french knitting. Honestly, there’s something for everyone in all your posts! Lovely to be able to catch up with life on Serendipity Farm. Got my kefir yesterday when my neighbour came over with my mail – hopefully will get it going this week when I get some milk….very exciting, thank you! Mailed the sourdough starter to you on Tuesday last week so I hope it makes it through Australian customs – I said it was “Embroidery Notions” partly to get it through and mostly because I think the word “notions” is a bit fabulously silly 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 18, 2014 @ 09:55:39

      I have a “notion” that I might actually get it because unlike New Zealand, we are pretty liberal here 😉 Still to hammer some nails into the top of that big wooden drum thingo in order to get sock manufacturing but there are still hours in the day so you just never know…

      Reply

  15. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Mar 18, 2014 @ 06:02:40

    Your gardens look marvelous! Green looks marvelous. We have seen almost nothing but white for months. Maybe the last of it is melting off today. I have actually thought about urine for the garden. I’ve read up on it. Yogis says it cures anything. Some people drink it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. I do drink distilled water.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Mar 18, 2014 @ 09:57:30

      I couldn’t drink it either! I can dilute it heavily and hurl it with impunity around my compost heap though 🙂 You are just about to start your growing season and we are just about to finish up with ours…can’t say I will be sorry to see the long dry spell that we just had (Early December to the day before yesterday) head off and will be most happy to wave it bye-bye I can tell you! Rain forecast for today and I, for one, can’t wait! 🙂

      Reply

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