Doughnut forsake me oh my darlings…


Hi All


Yeah I completely deserve to be forsook for that one! I was perusing Pinterest (as you do) and found myself wondering about why things “trend”. I put that in inverted commas for a reason. Trending is trendy folks. Everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon where the hipsters and their plugs and checked shirts and mutton chops and tats are hanging out. Everyone wants a taste of the latest greatest before it becomes so much “meh” and everyone wants to bask in that bliss that is “new” and “unusual” (more inverted commas…) and apparently trending is the way to do it. I could care less about trending. I am the LEAST trendy creature on this earth. I don’t have mutton chops or tats or even plugs (apart from one particularly annoying pop type one in our bathroom vanity that is driving me NUTS! But I digress…) and I certainly prefer to stay on the side of tried and true in order to make the most of what we have.


I have been flat out studying lately and due to a severe dearth of photographic opportunities I find myself on a Wednesday with buggery bollocks all images to share with you. I got this wonderful Leunig artwork in a Facebook feed and would like to share it with you. I love how Mr Leunig views the world

I can, however, see the complete value in a community of people test driving a recipe…honing it, twisting it, customising it out the wazoo and allowing everyone to have a taste. As someone with a somewhat limited food palette (completely by choice, not by any allergies etc.) I fully appreciate the efforts of the trending hipsters to find new and interesting ways to elevate humble natural foods and make them interesting and inventive in the process. The only problem with this process is that what was once humble AND cheap becomes trendy and somewhat more expensive. This is wonderful for the producers but not so good for penniless student hippies. I find myself on the cusp of having to trend my own humble ingredients in order to create delicious, wholesome and nutritious meals and snacks etc. and most ironically find myself back at the coalface of “trending” in order to pilfer their techniques and ideas to apply them to my own fandangling…OH the ignominy!


Steve must have taken this sometime last week when he was messing about with his phone camera. A completely unadultered “honest” shot of me and my (messy) home environment. Unstaged and unposed (and not too bad or you wouldn’t be seeing it here today 😉 )

I am sitting here at 6.22am eating a bowl of hot vegetable soup and contemplating my day ahead. I am alive and vibrant at this time of day. I have been up since misc.-and-boobity-boo (about tree fiddy) which has allowed me to wander around the blogosphere seeking and finding amazing recipes, answers to questions and generally immersing myself in the world that I choose to inhabit. I get this amazing quality time almost completely to myself. Occasionally I get the odd tippity tap of Earls little pointy toes as he heads in to give me a scotch on the way out the back door to do his rounds. When he returns he gives me a beak (nose press) to remind me to walk with him back to bed and cover him up with a nice soft blanket as it is now cold…Bezial usually trots off to bed at this time as well from his lofty position on the couch in the lounge room leaving me here on my own with time on my hands. I read, I think, I Pin, I think some more. My early morning world is cram packed full of possibilities where 7pm finds me peering myopically with a head crammed full of the day and ready for bed


Steve downloaded a photo filter app called PicSketch Free today and messed about with a couple of photos that he had taken on his phone recently. Here’s how the river in front of our house turned out…


And here is a middle aged woman ferrying a protesting clucky chook back to the coop in order to save her from quoll consumption (ungrateful creature pecked “her”! 😉 ) It renders your photos into hand sketched lookalikes.

It’s almost time to reignite Brunhilda. I can’t wait! I can almost hear her gentle crackling and the smell of the small eucalyptus twigs as I feed them slowly to wake her up after her long sleep overnight. She slumbers in embers and as soon as the door is open again I can see her interest…”sticks? For moi? Why I don’t mind if I do!” and it is back to crackling and providing latent heat for all of our wintery needs. I will be reanimating Chica’s white sourdough starter once it becomes apparent that winter is truly upon us. The little brassica seeds that my Aunt Tilly sent to me are going to be planted into some good quality seed raising mix later on today. I am off to visit a friend bearing Brachychitons and care. Her little dog Tilly was put to sleep yesterday and she is broken. I don’t even want to contemplate that eventuality for our 2 beautiful boys but I know it is there…hovering around in the background and one day it will be an issue. For now I can offer trees and comfort to my grieving friend


My friend gave me some of her beetroots knowing that I LOVE beetroot


I also eat the leaves of the beetroot as they taste like Swiss Chard/Silverbeet

It’s raining! Of COURSE it is raining…what a dolt I am. I left the enormous woolly blankets from the dogs chairs on the line overnight…why on earth wouldn’t it rain? 😉 It would appear that Mother Nature is as bolshie as I am and twice as reprobated. You apparently just have to use reverse psychology on her “NO I DON’T WANT IT TO RAIN”! (Hear that Mother Nature…you fell for it! 😉 ). I am also heading into Launceston to do the fortnightly shopping today so again, pretty much odds on that it was going to rain. I don’t mind, less lunatics on the road for me to worry about as they all stay at home in their snow boots with their heat pumps on 11 ;). I like shopping because I get to look at things that I don’t usually see. Steve races around “shopping” like a bull in a china shop. He looks at the list (sometimes) and hurls things into the trolley. Several times he has picked up the wrong ingredient like last fortnights prune incident (that he will NEVER live down 😉 ) where he threw 8 bags of prunes into the trolley rather than the 8 bags of dates that were on the list. He blames people putting things in the wrong place. I blame a complete lack of attention 😉

paper beach

Not a bad panorama taken from Steve’s new phone camera


Real harvest! Spuds galore 🙂

I am going to wander around looking at shops that Steve could care less about. I probably won’t even buy anything from them. I just want to look and see what is available etc. I like the process of window shopping but only in shops that I am interested in. Forget clothes and shoes I am a food window shopper and a kitchen equipment window shopper. Only last Saturday we were wandering the streets of Launceston with the dogs towing us behind them like little Mack trucks when I spotted Jamie Oliver’s latest creation, an extra wide pasta maker. I am in need of a new pasta maker after I made it “GRONK!” once too often and it decided to permanently pop a cog. I don’t use them for making pasta much but do like the possibilities of being able to make my own soba noodles from buckwheat and lasagne noodles with home grown veggies to colour and flavour the pasta. With mother’s day coming up soon I may just have found my communal kids gift for mum 🙂


I LOVE this image. It was another Facebook share. I love how they are androgynous with age and love that has stood the test of time and are reduced down to the true beauty and power that age can bring to a couple who have weathered many storms together 🙂 Plus I also note that Steve may one day have breasts as saggy as mine…I live for that day sir! 😉


It is important to rain just enough to wet the blankets but not nearly enough for the vegetable garden so I have to water…that’s the fun of 101 pissing off penniless student hippies apparently. Even better if you can imbue some of those possums with superhuman brain stems and they are able to work a rubric’s cube with one hand whilst invading my own personal Poland with the other. I am WATCHING you Mother Nature…you are on notice!


Here’s another Facebook share. This lady (we are told) is 92 years “young” and if I was to do what she is doing with her foot there I would need assistance to extricate me from that position let alone get INTO that position in the first place. Kudos ma’am. You are a true inspiration 🙂

I decided to crack most of the walnuts that I showed you last post and store the kernels in the freezer so that I could use them as and when I saw fit. I like the idea of stored food. I read a lot of blog posts about preserving the harvest. I would be knocking myself out too preserving the harvest if we actually “had” much of a harvest but thank goodness this year was predominately an experiment with seedlings gifted to me by my friend Jenny, as otherwise I might be heartbroken about the results. On the good side of the equation, I have potatoes! I doubt that I will fill a 10kg bag but I got beautiful round sweet tasting potatoes and Steve hoovered the first of them down the other night and pronounced them “delicious” along with a few carrots. I hoovered down my meagre beetroot harvest along with some that my friend gave me when I visited her recently and am enjoying the leaves, steamed, as well. Getting “something” from the garden is better than getting nothing in my books and if all that I got this year was a sterling education in what NOT to do, then that is a season well spent


Not a very good photo but some of the walnuts that we have been picking from our own tree on the left with a size comparison to some of the walnuts that we have been picking from the tree in town on the right. As you can see our tree delivers monsters!


Hazelnuts and walnuts from last season that I decided to either stratify (the biggest) or crack and freeze (everything else)


The hazelnutty results. I feel some homemade healthy nutella coming on!

I will be stratifying some hazelnuts and walnuts again this year. Jenny gave me a great idea to use up some of the alarmingly HUGE collection of wine and beer bottles that has settled in our small shed. Aside from shaming us every time we add a chook feed bag of them to our collection I have had to reconsider what I am going to do with them because it just isn’t feasible to dig them into the soil and use them as garden edging (cheers rocks…) I was talking “recycling” with a manic look in my eyes when she said “you know how you are talking about using tyres to stop the wallabies and possums from eating your fruit/nut/perennial veggies? Why not create something out of bottles?” She even mentioned a form of bottle gabion that got me excited…bottle gabions? We have rocks and bottles galore here. I am less inclined to disinter the rocks from their current subsoil home than I am to empty out the small shed (and “shed” the guilt…) and use that mighty stashy monument to alcoholism for a good purpose.


Check out this impressive stand of Jerusalem artichokes. These people obviously don’t have wallabies devouring their pumpkins and artichokes like we have


They obviously DO, however, have a possum problem ;). Isn’t this an awesome veggie garden? I would have dug over the soil inside to make the most of this space but the people who constructed this veggie garden are (by the look of their house and this enclosure) quite wealthy and can afford to use minimal space. Kudos on their inventiveness 🙂

How to go about getting what I want from those bottles? Well how about I create panels of bottles using cheap chicken wire? I could create rectangular gabions that I anchored in place using a wooden frame created with treated pine and after planting out our “edibles” (just about anything that WE plant is apparently edible to the natives…) they could be set up like alcoholic Lego around the outside of the planting. The results would be both aesthetically pleasing (where tyres were going to make me twitch), difficult for the wallabies to reach over to graze and would allow us to anchor hoops of cheap black piping and put more chicken wire over the frame to protect the plants from possum predation. Another score for permaculture and a perfect reuse for those bottles. I will keep you posted on our progress. Well we got 2 bottles to stick together using liquid nails so next step is to see if we can get 49 of them to stick together to form a cohesive rectangle that can be used as one side of a bottle fortress around my poor long suffering plants.


This is my “apple” calendar. I don’t use an apple mac but I do eat apples. I stick the stickers on my desk calendar and can at least kid myself that I am eating healthily 😉

I am MOST excited to be reviewing Emma Cooper from Emma the Gardener’s wonderful blog. Emma is an ethnobotanist, a writer and a podcaster and specialises in the history behind the food that we eat, specifically the food that we grow. She most generously allowed me to read a copy of her book “The Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs” which is a delightful and most eclectic mix of unusual edibles grown by an even more eccentric bunch of “gardeners” for want of a better word. Emma’s book is wonderful and I will be writing a review for it and publishing a blog post about it on Thursday April 10th. I hope that you can all find the time to read the review and hopefully through narf eyes, get a bit of insight into just what makes some of these incredible adventurous keepers of the vegetative matter tick.


The plumber and his sidekick finding out why our bathroom sink drained so slowly. It would appear that someone (who shall remain anonymous) has very long hair and the combination of bad design for the combined plug and sink mechanism and this long hair may have had something to do with the problem. (I am leaning towards the bad sink design personally… 😉 )

I find myself being gently nudged by the powers that be more and more towards gardening these days. I once immersed myself in recipes and now find my passion running to the production of the main ingredients for those recipes. A natural progression methinks but still a most interesting state of being for someone who has spent so very long on documenting entire hard-drives worth of recipes for posterity. I love that gardening blogs are starting to pop up and that my radar is firmly tuned to “dirt”. I tend to steer towards permaculture blogs but there are so many other wonderful gardening blogs and websites out there and all wanting to share everything from the basics to the most difficult techniques and premises and the best bit is that as gardeners, most of them offer this information for free. There are books…there are tours…there are products for sale but under the sales pitch there is also a most impressive array of free information just waiting to be plundered. I feel a new hard-drive may just be in order…”STEEEEEVE!” 😉


Look what that sugar fairy has been up to. Not content with eating Steve’s chocolate éclairs, she has started on his wine and if I am not mistaken (by that cap) his beer! It MUST be the sugar fairy because I found all of these items in the lounge room just scattered around Steve’s chair and he KNOWS how much it makes me cranky so it obviously wasn’t Steve…


The desperate act of a dog who hasn’t had his walk yet thanks to steady rain and who has sunk SO low as to shake one of his humans hands in a sad attempt to get them to get off their chairs and walk him in the rain. Earl is over Winter already and it hasn’t even begun!

Hokay folks, I think I have driven your minds and ridden them like sea biscuit enough today. I will hand them back to you now and you can all rest assured that they have had their quotient of exercise for today. Feel free to watch some mindless TV or listen to commercial radio or read a fluffy romance novel and not challenge them with anything too strenuous because narf7, your brains personal trainer, has taken them around the block a few times and put them through their routines. Don’t forget that next week I will be posting a regular blog post on Wednesday AND a review post for Emma’s delightful book on Thursday. I know that life is hectic and that it’s hard to find the time these days to read 1 of my long-winded posts let alone 2 in a row but I would really appreciate it if you could take the time to check in on Thursday and I promise to keep it short, but ever so sweet. See you then 🙂











48 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ben
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 19:14:22

    I love the picture of two lovers up there! 🙂 So sweet. They love each very much.


  2. brymnsons
    Apr 02, 2014 @ 20:29:56

    Well there are a few questions I need to ask:
    What is stratifying? What is a gabion? and what the hell is an ethnobotonist??
    Cheers in advanced for enlightening me to the answers 🙂
    Sorry to hear about your friends dog, so sad when we have to make a hard decision like that. I wish I could go window shopping with you, mine are all done and dusted in about 5 minutes. Yep nothing new today, sigh…
    We will be trekking up to Carnarvon for these hols as Chris is 21 and is working there now. Too expensive to fly, about $3000 return for both of us. Yes it is NOT a typo there are THREE zeros at the end!! So we will be driving there. I read an article about girls who dress up like living dolls. They call themselves Lolitas, its a Japanese style of street fashion. It reminded me of those girls photographs you put in your blog. Ok got to feed half a sheep to my son and hubby, :D, so catcha later x


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 02:30:48

      Stratifying is where you get seed, usually larger seed like nuts etc. that come from places where it gets very cold and everything goes dormant over winter, and you put them in a bit of damp soil or in our case coconut/coir peat and you put them in a dark place (in our case an esky) to let them overwinter in the cold. It is sort of replicating what happens in nature and usually, if the seed is viable, they will start to grow in the spring. Sometimes it takes some pretty weird stratifying and some seeds need double dormancy which means that they take up to 2 years to grow! Thankfully most nuts just need to overwinter :). A gabion is where you make a cage out of tough weldmesh and fill it with rocks. They get used to make walls and to stabilise the sides of cliffs etc and can look very pretty. I am planning to use chook wire as it isn’t like the glued bottles are going to need much holding together. An ethnobotonist is someone who deals with the relationships between plants and humans. Carnarvon will be a LOT hotter than where you are! That is absolutely stupid money for the flights. You could almost come here for that! The funny thing about those Lolitas (which is exactly what those girls call themselves that I photographed on the blog) is that one of them is married to a guy doing the course with us this year. Small world eh? 🙂 Enjoy spit roasting that sheep 😉


  3. kellie@foodtoglow
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 03:44:26

    Such a feast of a post, Miss Fran. So much to chew on, so many images conjured. What a lovely life you have. Can I be you for a week? A day?


  4. quarteracrelifestyle
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 07:19:28

    You raise something here I am very conscious of myself – people have turned food into an expensive thing to eat!! And they have complicated it. I like looking at recipes for inspiration but if it’s complicated or expensive it won’t be getting tried in this house. Food is nutrition, it’s fuel and it should taste good – but natural food cooked simply but cooked well is what happens here.

    i loved that photo of the elderly couple too, it’s just gorgeous. And the 92 year old in the red dress, awesome!

    your potatoes I think probably did better than ours and lucky you with those nuts. We used to buy ours from an elderly neighbour who was in love with Roger, unfortunately she passed away last year, so we will be searching for a new source.

    i like what Steve did with those photos, nice effects. Enjoy your studies 🙂


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 09:14:28

      Yeah I am SO with you over the wanky status of “food” It is a source of nutrients and is supposed to be healthy, wholesome and feed us body and soul NOT some middle man’s bank account! Cheers on the studies but we are at the part where we really don’t want to be…OH&S anyone? Ech! 😉


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 03, 2014 @ 09:25:02

        Oh, I remember that part well….that’s the part I would procrastinate like anything with then rush at the last minute with the knowledge I only needed to pass, it didn’t need to be an A!!!! 🙂 Good luck

      • narf77
        Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:00:03

        Yeah, we did this exact set of questions last year and just resubmitted them. I don’t think our lecturer was all that happy but if you don’t want your students to resubmit, don’t ask the same questions 😉

  5. missmaudy
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 10:04:32

    Oh, we have the same stupid waste of time and effort pug arrangement in the bathroom basin. Got rid of the plug thingy (unless we want to use it, of course), but it still blocks. Ours was clagged up with beard hairs and toothpaste, and while I do get the odd old lady hair on my chin, it doesn’t constitute a beard and also because I use an electric toothbrush – apparently, I’m not responsible for the toothpaste clogging either! Win. It’s nice to have a verifiable alibi in these very sweary situations.

    We had a crack at a vegie patch this year – best described as epic fail. No soil preparation, nutrients leeched from the soil by not one but two hedges, and not as much sunshine as I thought. Also, possibly not enough water. However, we live and learn and I (at least) am planning to do a proper job for next year.


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:03:22

      Holy crap are we related? I think you might be my long lost sister ;). We seem to suffer from the same plug and the same complete lack of ability with vegetables. Whilst all of my online mates are master veggie dudes I am a humble sad sack of a vegetable critter. I completed both a Diploma of Horticulture AND a Diploma of Landscape Design but I can’t, for the life of me, grow a pepper! I have a garden full of green tomatoes (because I planted them too late), my lettuce were pathetic and even the dog wouldn’t eat them and the aphids and greenfly have taken full advantage of my desire not to use chemicals and are practically carrying my garden away. What they don’t eat, the possums do so don’t worry about the epic fail, we are all united in it together :). Cheers for the lovely big comment by the way. I love sharing with my dear constant readers 🙂


  6. Littlesundog
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 10:26:04

    Oh what sadness… that photo of Earl! The poor fellow seems to have lost the luster in his eyes. Boredom isn’t his style at all, and you know what happens when it goes on too long – yes, somebody’s slippers or shoes get shredded!

    I envy your hazelnuts and walnuts. The walnut and pecan crops have been pathetic here the last couple of years.I too love beets, but I’m especially fond of the golden beets. The tops are lovely too, I’m disappointed when I find them in a store with the tops cut off!

    I cracked up over that photo of the plumber and his sidekick helper working on the sink problem. That assistant does seem to be quite helpful!


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:05:12

      Golden beets are delicious aren’t they. I love those bullseye ones as well, lovely in a salad. Earl was waiting for anything that Steve was too preoccupied to hold and as soon as he put something down Earl trotted off with it ;). I decided not to share the images of the plumbers “derrière” that Steve was showing to the world. I didn’t think that you were all ready for that kind of plumbing exposure 😉


  7. Born To Organize
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 12:35:02

    It’s fun to read about your slice of life, delivered with your unique and entertaining sense of humour. I will keep an eye out for your next two posts.


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:09:45

      I am very excited to review that book. Its all about the strange and eccentric people who love to grow weird and wonderful plants. I sometimes think that people who are passionate about plants are some of the strangest people around, and some of the most interesting. She is selling her book via Smashmouth and a most wonderful read it is 🙂


  8. teddyandtottie
    Apr 03, 2014 @ 13:50:08

    So sorry to hear about your friend’s dog – you are a good friend to be there for her. It’s never an easy time, is it? What do you mean your home environment is messy – it looks so clean and orderly to me (note to self – do not put any pictures of my kitchen on my blog). Truly, despite my best efforts, our kitchen is in a permanent state of chaos! I, too, love Mr. Leunig and Mr. Earl! Great words at the top. You’re so lucky to be an alert morning person – getting so much done in the am. That was going to be my New Year’s Resolution, but now that it’s getting cooler in the mornings … well … just 10 more minutes sleep!! Then pressing projects just don’t get done! Love the beautiful panoramic picture and your box of homegrown potatoes! Can’t wait to read Wednesday’s post and the review of Emma’s book. Have a great week! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox


    • narf77
      Apr 03, 2014 @ 14:11:02

      Lovely comment ma’am…might allow you an entry into my upcoming blog giveaway (“STEEEEEEVE time to make another wooden spoon….”) 😉


  9. Spy Garden
    Apr 04, 2014 @ 09:49:04

    Beet greens are delish. beets too. Your potatoes are lovely! This will be my first year growing some, I just ordered purple ones (with purple flesh too!), “regular’ and sweet potatoes. And hazlenuts MMMMmmmm


  10. thecontentedcrafter
    Apr 05, 2014 @ 10:57:03

    Here I am at last – did you even notice I was gone? You did get some potatoes – I felt sure you would over all those weeks you were mithering on about too many leaves and not enough roots etc…… There is nothing like new potatoes fresh dug and cooked perfectly and delivered to my plate …. drool, slurp, splat!

    My forays back into gardening over the past year, though so much gentler and slower [and smaller] than yours have led me inexorably towards a desire to be more on the ball and invested by next spring. I am going vertical! Do you follow Robbie on Palm Rae Urban Potager? I find her quite inspiring!

    I have returned home with my pet SCOBY, Martha. She has been fed her first pot of tea and is happily imbibing her caffeine and sugary nutrients as we speak 🙂 I left my water kefir grains in Wellington as they are not a priority in my health requirements, but may have found a place to acquire milk kefir from. I also made nut milk with my daughter and am ready to whack some out here. She has recently acquired herself a super dooper state of the art blender that I am now lusting after and will happily sell my soul for! Just when I think I am over material goods – [after all I got my lovely brown boots!] there I go again!

    I very much like that photo of you in your kitchen – which is coincidentally painted my favourite colour! Steve’s new app is cool – why be an artist when there’s a technology device to do it for you? The old folk are just downright beautiful – she looks like one of my favourite photos which I stuck into the end of a blog post once.

    I also very much look forward to reading your book review next week – I’m sure it will be excellent for sales 🙂


    • narf77
      Apr 05, 2014 @ 11:37:22

      Of course I noticed that you were absent. I knew that you were AWL (is that Absent With Leave? 😉 ) and just hung around upside down on the monkey bars waiting for your return and here you are! Glad you had a good time and that you got a SCOBY. I didn’t think that you would be much into the water kefir but milk kefir is a definite go for your routine and you can do so much with it :). A nice new blog for me to peruse eh? OOOO Puce/Purple Potager! At least the colours are right for a busy little bee like me…
      Just crammed them into my RSS Feed Read that I couldn’t read yesterday because we had an almost 8 hour power cut and today because I had an almost 8 hour sleep in ;). Tomorrow I will deal with my RSS Feed Read. Today I am pottering around potting up seeds into seed raising mix, starting a pair of large slipper boots that we picked up the wool for (on sale at Spotlight 🙂 ) along with a trio of gorgeous pastel coloured crochet hooks for big girls crochet (emphasis on the word BIG because nothing that these babies hook is ever going to be small!).
      Earl is sulking delightfully at my feet (no walk till a bit later on) and Bezial is upside down on a Persian style carpet out in the sunshine worshipping a glorious autumnal day. I might even get the odd pumpkin from the patch as the rat/possum bites appear to be healing over and they are carrying on regardless.

      Has your daughter bought a Thermomix? I lust after them as well. I have a Vitamix that does almost the same thing that I bought WAY back when money flowed like honey out of the land of work and honey but now that we are penniless student hippies that word is sacred (money, honey, land ALL of those words are sacred 😉 ) so I just lust in my semiconscious most days 😉

      Thankyou for your confidence in my ability to review a book so that the author doesn’t immediately wish that she hadn’t asked me to. It gives me a LOT more confidence in my final draft 😉

      Hugs and glad you are back, we all missed you like chocolate 🙂


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 05, 2014 @ 13:37:18

        Ha – I visited Spotlight in Palmerston North on ED’s birthday when we found ourselves magically transported 21/2 hours from home base and an hour to fill in. We also purchased yarn 🙂 I am going to make me a wonderful Teddy&Tottie inspired blankie as I am sure you are going to win one 🙂 [Or maybe some guy called Herman ….?]

        ED does have a Vitamix – the latest edition apparently that whizzes up nuts for nut milk in a matter of seconds and makes the most delicious green smoothies…..It also heats things as it whizzes ’em – I am full of amaze and really really want one! But as I am a penniless and starving artiste living one step away from a garret – it probably isn’t going to happen ……… sigh!! 🙂 Oh well, we makes our choices and takes our consequences hey?

        However I shall dutifully look up a Thermomix – as I must always be prepared in case that ship pulls in to harbour.

      • narf77
        Apr 05, 2014 @ 14:10:21

        (OOO Just forgot! I have to shuffle over to Ms Teddy/Totties and infest her commentary again! 😉 ) Yes that Herman guy is pushing it. I hear he comes from the Apple Isle so I am going to have to hunt him if he wins…Vitamixes are splendiferous. Mine is about 10 years old now and is still going great guns :). You can make soup in a vitamix and you can grind grains to flour. My buckwheat (soft seed) grinds in about 5 seconds flat for my smooth breakfast porridge. The thermomix is a Vitamix on steroids (it also has a price tag that is approximately double that of a vitamix…and then some!) they are used for cooking, baking, grinding, they do just about everything AND the washing up! I am waiting for them to put one out that does the washing, the cleaning and that ferries hot drinks in and out of the lounge room to the nearest and dearest and I will sell the first born son and will buy one (Sorry Stewart…needs must you know…) 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 05, 2014 @ 15:32:24

        Given the price of a vitamix the themamix could never be mine! I shall continue to dream of the vita happily! I was pretty impressed too with the way vita cleaned herself up – that is pretty cool!

      • narf77
        Apr 05, 2014 @ 15:33:38

        I agree, she certainly makes a mean whirlpool 😉

  11. Yelena
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 08:26:36

    Beets are always welcome in our home, just today I made a vegetarian borsch, so good-))) I think you would like that, simple recipe also.


    • narf77
      Apr 06, 2014 @ 14:52:12

      Are you going to share it on your blog Yelena? Sometimes the simplest of recipes are the most wonderful :). My daughters made a most delicious borsch using beef not so long ago. I didn’t get to try it but as beets grow so well (and year round) here I am looking for interesting and delicious ways to prepare them 🙂


  12. Chica Andaluza
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 19:49:54

    Love the photos – and what a pain that the rain (which was niether in spain nor on the plain) came at just the wrong time 😦 And as for that naughty sugar fairy – glad she’s with you as she seems to lurk around our house waaaaay too often! We’re just winding down the log fires while you’re getting ready to crank up Brunhilda….what fun though, let the sourdough madness begin!


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 03:38:32

      Can’t wait to light Brunhilda for the first time this year. Gotta say, by the coolness that is starting to infiltrate my early mornings these days it will be sooner rather than later. I have been stockpiling all kinds of delicious slow cooked bean and pulse recipes that I am going to bubble up along with sourdough. Could be a most interesting and tasty winter ahead 🙂 Could you please take that sugar fairy back? She has been stuffing Steve’s pockets full of chocolate éclair sweet wrappers and is really starting to take the piss methinks! 😉


  13. Robbie
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 08:46:31

    You caught my attention in the first paragaph of your post!!!:-) I have tried to start pinterest several times and within a day ( twice) I have cancelled it, for it made my eyes go buggy! I was so stressed with all that “stuff” to look at. I thought it would be a lot of fun since I am more of a visual person than a blog writer with many words. I tend to be more of a “photo blog”, but that was just TOO MUCH. They say it is the new trend, ugh…not for me! Plug ins…the fewer the better, but I feel like thest days with social media. I am on overload. I am going to just stay with blogging + not add all the other stuff…to much time on my comptuer as it is…
    I have never had a facebook since when it first started my kids were in high school, my son did not even start it until he got to college. He was just too busy. My kids were part of the zanga sites at first….well, I found more parents were spying on thier kids + also reading other kids facebooks…something about the whole thing just seemed like too much imformation! My kids always told me way more than I needed to know, so I did not need to read facebook, and for goodness sake, I did not want to do that!
    …I also prefer blogs because you talk about life + get to know people over time…pinterest just seems like a place to “collect” what you “want” not what you “need” and we spend too much time doing that, so I am not going to get on that band wagon. I can see an advantage for people that are teachers since they can trade ideas for the classroom, or people in the same line of work/projects.

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have seen your comments on several other bloggers I have met over the past year ( Wendy, Pauline, + a few others) + you seem like a really knowledgable person…your sure know how to do a lot:-) I don’ t feel your blog is wordy, I find it refreashing + enjoyable…and you love dogs, like I do…in fact I do remember stopping by here a long time ago to chat about “pit bulls”…I have two which I adore…they are my family, too! I’ll be back again:-)


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 10:53:33

      I first headed over to Pinterest a few years ago and couldn’t make head nor tail of it so I just left it. I had to apply to get into it (which is obviously the hook, sort of makes you think that it is exclusive) and promptly forgot about it. I then discovered that it was an amazing way to store lots of ideas, concepts, crafts, recipes etc. in a single place. I think it’s because you can see what the results are that makes it so much more rewarding. I use it as a kind of search jump off point. I have found some amazing blog posts and websites through Pinterest and there are all kinds of fantastic information being pinned. You just have to look underneath the mainstream stuff and there is some real quality info to be found. If you hadn’t guessed, I am an information hog 😉

      We use Facebook only to keep in touch with our relatives on the other side of the country. I could take it or leave it but someone in our course just started a Facebook page and so the whole class has to go there to “connect” so for the immediate future we have to use it. I have 250 blogs crammed into my RSS Feed Reader and every good blog post that I enjoy and think that someone else might get something out of I pin. I guess I use Pinterest as a depository for my collected info. The best of the best gets saved as pdf’s but most of it is just out there for anyone to find if they like. I kind of like the bolshiness of it “free information folks!”.

      I remember you Robby and your pit bulls 🙂 Hi again 🙂 I am following your blog now so I can get all of your posts in my RSS Feed Reader. I love to comment and so I dare say I won’t be quiet for long ;). I really loved today’s post. Pauline shared your blog link with me and told me “you will love this blog”. She is right 🙂


      • Robbie
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 12:37:44

        Love it! Information junkie! Your use of pinterest sounds like a good way to utilize it, but I spend way too much time at my computer. In fact, it gave me a back spasm this past January. I was sitting on a hard chair + woke up the next day with a “charlie horse” in my lower back that just kept going for a day! I had to take nine showers( to get relief), and found out that I can’t spend that much time at my computer!It was like my back was having a baby, that kind of contractions/spasms! I am trying to slow down and get outside and do more nature photos this year, I also take breaks in between my time on the computer now!
        I sure do admire you ability to get all that organized:-) I am not the cook you are, I never use recipes, but wing it-lol. I have a few that I like to use, but I am just not that creative in the kitchen. I love to grow food outside + be creative in the garden or with projects. I sure do admire all you people that cook from scratch + bake. I will be trying this year to make bread:-)
        I also forgot to mention in my comment before, I really liked your “kitchen photo” it is the way I live my life….I did not think your kitchen was messy:-)I like your carefree + relaxed approach to life:-) Your kitchen looked warm + inviting:-) I am no Martha Steward. I love to grow food + cook it simply, but to me a house should be used to live a simple life, not stare at-lol!

      • narf77
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 14:46:18

        We ripped out all of the fussy cupboards and simplified the kitchen to fit us. I could care less about design and would rather major on function to be honest. I like blue so the cupboards are blue. Steve could care less about the colour so I got my choice ;). When I left my ex husband I had no qualifications in anything and all I could really do was cook so I headed off to work as a cook in various guises. I went to cookery school and the most important thing that I learned is “if you do something as a job you most certainly won’t enjoy doing it as a creative hobby”. It took me years to come back to cookery as something to enjoy. I bake and create and ruminate from scratch as a means to an end. We are penniless student hippies and want to eat well so we knock out the middle man and go straight to go AND collect our $200 (veggies, eggs) as we pass Go ;). It’s all how you view things and discovering Permaculture was like opening a door to an incredible wealth of possibilities that I just never realised were there before. Permaculture is the saviour of we penniless hippies 🙂

      • Robbie
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 22:30:03

        ahhhh…”function” I totally agree! We purchased our home in 99 to move closer to work in our urban area. We moved in to a home that was still “living” in the late 60’s/70’s + I we have adapted it to our needs. I have never understood people that put 20,000plus into a kitchen remodel! Yikes. This year I kept the old kitchen tiles and found some California tiles to rework it under 100.00 dollars, and added new pulls to the cabinets + we got”functional”…and that was our kitchen remodel!!lol. It works for us:-)
        We live with things until they break even our harvest gold fridge and oven for 6 yrs. After 30 yrs they broke down, so we replaced them because they no longer worked….:-) I integrated permaculture with other growing techinques like biointensive etc… + mix a lot of it toghether. I have always been an eclectic creator-lol:-)

      • narf77
        Apr 08, 2014 @ 02:57:00

        I reviewed a new garden e-book (review being posted on Thursday) all about unusual edibles and the people who collect them. It was a fascinating birds eye view into some very unusual plants, some that I hadn’t even heard of which made me most excited to get my hands on some of them (especially the perennial root crops). Being an eclectic creator I dare say there is a bit of the eclectic collector in you as well. I am growing yacon this year but am keen to add Chinese artichokes and skerrit to the mix. Lazy gardening meets permaculture! 😉

  14. Margaret Griffin
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 12:14:13

    Mmmmm, up at 3.30am? For me, if the neighbours’ chooks aren’t up, I can’t see why I should be.

    You are clearly receiving more rain near Launceston than Castlemaine. We have started to receive autumn rain but not in sufficient quantities to prevent dog walks. Poor Earl!


    • narf77
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 14:38:00

      Hi Margaret. I just paid a visit to your wonderful blog and saw that you are working with Art as therapy. At the moment we are studying Design and learning about how art can be channelled into delivering outcomes but I think I prefer art for art’s sake than manipulating it. I doubt I will find a career in Design 😉 We haven’t got all that much rain. It keeps threatening and then disappearing but no doubt we have it a bit cooler and wetter than you do. I get up at 3.30 so that I get 4 hours of me time. Completely and utterly self indulgent to the max but the only time that I can get alone to myself (although the 4 hours is usually punctuated by at least 1 visit from either of our dogs 😉 )


  15. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Apr 08, 2014 @ 13:36:03

    saggy man titties. Why out of everything in your post Fran was I left with that little mind souvenir, (not sure.) But thank you 🙂
    Cooler weather, hoorah to that. And nuts, look at all your wonderful nuts!


    • narf77
      Apr 09, 2014 @ 04:50:42

      I have squirrelled those nuts away for winter when I am going to make the most amazing vegan healthy nutella known to man! LOL on the saggy man titties. Hey, they say that we become androgynous as we age and those two gorgeous individuals are my idea of well preserved androgyny and if that’s my future so be it! 🙂


  16. Linne
    Apr 09, 2014 @ 14:46:51

    the internet froze up when I was nearly to the end of your comments section; when I finally got it going again, you had posted another post! I will never catch up ;-(
    Just kidding! You deserve it after April Fools AND the title to this one . . .

    Ok, thanks for elaborating on stratifying and gabions in the comments above; you saved me a trip to Google. Thanks! And thanks for recommending WordPad; it lets me read your blog and comment as I come to stuff, instead of scrolling up and down endlessly and then missing stuff. Not that I have a wee obsessive bone in my left foot or anything . . . so here’s my comments:

    That was an awful pun! and it deserves to rest in the hallowed halls forever . . . or on a T-shirt!
    As to trending, you will have to revise that to read “everyone but one”, as this old hippie is unregenerately against trending. “I like what I like and I am what I am”, to misquote poor Popeye . . . I love really, really old stuff and the latest gadgety whatevers (IF they work, darnit!) and bits and bobs of everything inbetween. On reading further (I’m using WordPad at your recommendation, thank you very much!), I see that it might have to read “everyone but two” 🙂 I have one of those plugs, in our tub. Much better than what’s in the basin, one of those stupid metal things with a long stick that you push up (or down) set behind the faucet. It never works . . .

    You are forgiven for no photos (well, not so many as usual, anyway); I’m so impressed that you continue to study, garden, allow yourself to be dragged all over by Mr. Earl, presumable do some housework, also some crafting and still find time to write. Most impressive, espceially for a little black duck 🙂

    I go back and forth when it comes to cooking; for the most part I’m very plain and simple, but occasionally I tire of this and then I love to try something new. And I sure hear you when it comes to what happens to natural foods in the market place. It’s not enough to sell us the ingredients; no, they have to ‘tweak’ and ‘enhance’ etc. and then charge us humungous sums for the ‘value added’ HA! And even some of the ingredients . . . when we were growing up, Mum bought liver, heart and the like very cheaply and usually got soup bones for free. Now they’re all through the roof, pricewise and the soup bones never seem to have much meat on them, either.

    Great photo of you, thanks, Steve. I don’t see that as a ‘mess’; it’s a ‘creative array’, don’t you know? The light is lovely. It could be painterized into a Vermeer-like oil, titled, no doubt, “Woman at Sink with Veg”

    We don’t have PicSketch for free, apparently, but it’s only $1.99, so no big deal. I love what those photos look like. You and your lovely chook (is it true that pets take after their owners?) is just lovely. Sounds like she’s a wee bit bolshie, too.

    Oh, firing up the wood stove! Lovely memories. Those first fires are so magical, eh? I love that Brunhilda speaks to you. And perfect for things like proofing dough.

    I’m sorry for your friend Tilly, losing her dog. It’s always so hard.

    Beetroot! Yum!!! I love the roots and the leaves, too. Mum used to pickle lots of them and we had them at least once a week (there were scads of other pickles and relishes so we had quite a variety)

    I like how you conjure up the rain; why didn’t you put the washing and the blankets on the line back in mid-summer when it was so dry? What were you thinking? 😉 And lunatics on the road . . . don’t remind me. As I was out clearing stuff off the balcony today, it was so loud that Mum and I couldn’t hear ourselves speak. And the motorbikes! Don’t get me wrong; dangerous or no, I do like a sweet bike ride, but the noise!!! If a car made that much noise they’d have a huge fine to pay, but a bike? never!

    Efficient or no, Steve will likely never be doing my shopping for me (Steve, I can hear that big breath of relief, you know!); I love to wander up and down the aisles, thinking (of course). Once, years ago, I was going through a rather trying time and wandered around in the Safeway for so long that a security guy made me empty my bag (they were convinced I was shoplifting) I didn’t wander so much after that . . .

    You might have made tzimmes for Steve, using those prunes . . . it might have been a good memory tweaker the next time . . .

    I could browse around shops forever; mostly bookstores, fabric and yarn shops, tool and home DIY supply places (I don’t do DIY too often, but the supplies have multiple possible uses). The only clothing stores I really like don’t exist here much. I love odd, quirky, hippie sorts of clothes. Not that I wear them here, but I do like looking at them. Another case of ‘trendy’ pricing, though . . . I like to think I can make all those things myself . . . right!

    Good luck on the pasta maker. I’ve never tried one, but some of my friends used one for working with FIMO and the like. I have made pasta by rolling it out with a rolling pin, then slicing with a sharp knife and hanging the strips over broomsticks resting on the top of facing chairs. It works, but is much slower and of course, one can’t have pups or kids in the room. 😉

    Lovely picture of the elders . . . such love and joy in their faces . . . hope I live to be like her (but my hair will be long and colourful). That lovely dancer, too . . . You could do that, Narfie, if you did your best at the pose for ten minutes twice a day. With the right chair you could be reading blogs while perfecting your yoga. 😉

    Nice spuds, too (and the panorama). Too bad your harvest was less than hoped for, but it is a learning experience, isn’t it? Next year will be better. Your walnuts are very impressive. Hope you plan to share some recipes . . .

    The hazelnuts, too . . . mmmmm. I hadn’t heard about ‘stratify’ so will have to Google that. I love learning new stuff . . .

    There is a ‘Bottle House’ on Vancouver Island that we used to look at as we drove by on our way up-Island. If you have enough bottles, you could have a lovely shed or chook coop . . . but the gabions sound intriguing, too. Another word to Google . . . Would setting them in concrete work for you? I’ve seen that done, too. Even bottles used as decorative elements that let light into homes with thick walls. Interesting, all this . . .

    Looking forward to your review of the book, Narfie. I checked out the link and it sounds interesting.

    I have that problem with my long hair, too. I have a strainer sort of thingie to use in the tub, but it’s not useable in the sink, due to the stupid up and down plunger stopper. Grrr. Back in BC I used to brush my hair outdoors and do what I could to contribute to the local ecology. Bits of me are scattered all over the continent . . . Here, we are not allowed to have our doors or windows open when it’s freezing, in case of freezing the hot water heaters that run along the outer wall by the floor. So I just brush over the sink and swipe it up.

    I’ve discovered many an interesting blog via yours, so am very grateful for your exploratory mind. As to hard drives, I got a three terabyte external for under $100 a while back (on sale, lucky me) and it’s just great. I have it plugged into Mum’s computer and that way I can use hers, but keep all my stuff on my own drive.

    Had to laugh at the ‘sugar fairy’. And at poor Earl, reduced to begging . . . a sad come-down, isn’t it?

    Thanks for returning my mind; I was quite out of it for some time . . . just finished an Aussie mystery I found at the library, so instead of mindless reading, will get stuck into my latest thing for Pauline.

    I’m looking forward to Thursday’s post, mostly ’cause I want to see what a short Narfie post looks like 😉 Seriously, I’m quite interested in that book.

    Hugs to you ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Apr 09, 2014 @ 16:55:05

      I am twitching! I have NEVER had a comment that long in all of the time I have been blogging and I think you need some kind of an award for all of that typing! :). I could never get into that elderly ladies pose in a month of sundays and Steve and I are already as bolshie and wrinkled as that couple. They just reminded me of “us” :). Glad you are using notepad now as it is a whole lot easier to comment isn’t it? Hope you enjoy the next post (that I just posted BOOYAH! 😉 ) and tomorrow’s post might be shorter but it is full of admiration for Emma’s wonderful e-book that costs peanuts! Less than a bad cup of coffee to be honest. I can’t do your comment justice ma’am. I have to cook tea (4.54pm here) and so I am going to have to love you and leave you. Have the best rest of the week and a happy and wonderful weekend 🙂 See you tomorrow in that book review (at least one of you will be reading it 😉 )


      • Linne
        Apr 10, 2014 @ 14:32:23

        Oh, I think I left another about that long some while back . . . blame my Mum; she taught me to be ‘polite’ (not that I manage it all that often 🙂 ) No, don’t worry about responding to long comments or you’ll never have time to post another post and those are what I look forward to so much. I’ve read the review and your post of Wednesday (which came out on my Tuesday); will go comment briefly on the review now. The post will have to wait ’til tomorrow.

        I do have to say that yoga is amazing. I haven’t done it for a while, as there is no room really, but when I started, I would bend over forwards and could barely reach just past my knees. Six months later I could put my hands flat on the ground. It was amazing. Even today I can touch the ground with my fingers. And I’ve put on a few pounds since those days. (I think they are moving to more welcoming climes now, but I’m not tracking them). So you could. It’s just going as far as you can, releasing a breath, relaxing, reaching just a tad further and holding for a count of 10 to 30. Repeat three times, then move on to another movement. You’d be amazed at yourself, really! Not that I’m saying you ought to do yoga; just that it’s entirely possible if you ever want to try. 🙂 Ok, off to review the review . . . well, comment, anyway. ~ Linne

      • narf77
        Apr 10, 2014 @ 16:57:15

        I was thinking about taking up pilates as that strengthens core muscles and mine are so saggy as to be positively dribbling down to my toes! I need stress relief at the moment so I might have to learn to meditate or breath or something non essential like that (who needs to breath when you can hold your breath and turn purple and get what you want eh? 😉 ). Your mum sounds like a very wise woman indeed and I can touch the floor with my palms at the moment but my kids all have amazing stretchy tendons where I don’t. I must have been married to an octopus first up! 😉

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