First start with what you see…


Hi All


Here we all are again assembled and accounted for. I have nestled a few more blogs into my RSS Feed Reader on my never ending journey towards morphing my online reading habits into my real life interests of this moment in time. I am reading Ruby Wax’s book “Sane New World”. I read her autobiography and when a book can take you from deep soul searching to squirting your mouthful of booch (I am also attempting to drink my way through 12 litres of kombucha in my fridge as we need the space!) over the rug as you half choke on something hilarious it’s well worth a read in my opinion. I like to multi-task. Sane New World is an amazing survival story. Ruby has had several mental breakdowns and suffers from depression. Rather than take her meds like a good little Jewish girl she has decided to find out just what makes the brain tick and despite the humour that keeps this book ticking along nicely (still more booch to clean up off the wall…) blends seamlessly into this amazing woman’s search that took her from lying on a psychiatrists couch (while he ate a corned beef and mustard sandwich behind her and mumbled “Hmmm?”) to enrolling in Oxford university to study the science of the brain in order to tame her own. What a woman! And to think I just thought that she was funny…

The world is domed Michael Leunig

OH how I love Mr Michael Leunig. I hope he translates to the wider world as he is one of our Aussie gems that is well worth sharing. I hope that he isn’t in a mind to sue me for sharing his images with the wider community. I hope that should he ever stumble across humble little broke Serendipity Farm that he will take pity on the poor mindless adoring fool that pinched his image without permission but who couldn’t help herself because no-one out there says it like Mr Leunig 🙂

It’s now Wednesday and I am racing against time to pull a blog post out of the air. The air is decidedly cooler here today and if Bezial wasn’t sprawled upside down on the deck I would actually shut the sliding door. I love this crisp cool air because it lets you think clearly. I am thinking that I need to get my crochet hook into some wool soon and get started on the slipper boots that The Snail of Happiness  shared with me recently. I have plenty of wool, now I just need to find the time. Isn’t it always the case that when you have sufficient of one part of the equation, you don’t have enough of the other?


This is what my precious babies looked like prior to Steve forgetting to shut the shed door…sigh…

This summer has seen Steve helping a friends mum move into her house and has seen narf7 home alone. Much like Macaulay Calkin, narf7 home alone is not a good thing. For one I am slightly stir crazy and for two I can’t do a whole lot without Stevie-boy when it comes to the great outdoors. Our summer was long and dry and the garden suffered tremendously but now that the temperature has cooled down somewhat we are on the case and are knocking out some of the chores that need to be accomplished before winter hits home. We NEED that water tank up and collecting rain ASAP and we need the trailer that it is now residing in to collect leaf mould from the bottom of the property horse manure from a farm down the road and seaweed from a beach for the garden. I need to pull out all of the summer crops and make way for the winter crops including garlic and potato onions that are champing at the bit to be in the ground


Here are the large “Christmas decorations” that herald the entry into Serendipity Farm. They are kind of a statement and a warning at the same time “Your not in Kansas any more Dorothy…”


This is the delicious and most splendiferous load of wood that killed the moth eaten sock under the bed. We gave it a decent burial and then it was right back to working out how on EARTH we are going to transport all of these logs back to the house from the front of the property…looks like Stevie-boys Easter weekend might be all booked methinks…

Steve and I have been a little overwhelmed by the scope of the job at hand. It would seem that if you leave something for long enough it thinks it owns the place and takes possession. The blackberries and spear thistles are a point in case. They are everywhere…again…we had a few pressing inside jobs to do and once we had cleared out the spare room (isn’t it funny how they seem to magnetically attract “stuff”?) and Steve’s music room (another “stuff” gatherer) and we liberated the wood box from its big black house spider inhabitants and several pairs of my shoes from their big black house spider inhabitants (“Eek!”) we started to feel a bit better about it all. I think it’s the starting that is the hardest bit. It’s not hard to keep going, just start

Lumberjack Stevie-boy

I couldn’t resist sharing this “Lumberjack” image with you all and if you have 10 seconds to spare here’s the song itself…Steve and I? I will leave you to make up your own minds on that one 😉


Another gratuitous woody shot with our resident parkour expert Bezial taking full advantage of this delicious and delightful pile

Steve will be helping his friends mum fill and plant out an amazing series of large water wicked garden beds that he designed for use on her rooftop garden. He has been taking images of the process so that I can share a blog post with you all once the job is complete. So far the beds have been made and the plumbing installed. It isn’t like ordinary wicked garden beds where you have an overflow that bleeds out onto the soil below because there ISN’T any soil below and so a complex drainage system was cooked up between Steve and the plumber and an effective “fix” for this problem was achieved. It’s quite an exciting idea and very water wise. I will keep you informed about it as it starts to come together


Getting the wood box ready for a steady stream of wood that will grace it’s hallowed circumference over the next 6 or so months. Note Steve has a trusty helper and is wearing a belt. The belt is because he obliterated his top button on his trousers thanks to (in his own words folks) “too much beer and too many potatoes”


The helper extracts his payment…

Steve has a saying now “First start with what you see”. Apparently it was something from one of the Hannibal Lector movies. I am not entirely sure whether to be alarmed or not by his thought pool but have decided to go along with this idea anyway as I am not exactly brimming over with idea’s myself. I have decided to have my eyes surgically removed. Steve is on a jag. He has decided that we are going to clean up/fix up what we can see surrounding our house. Steve can apparently see a whole LOT surrounding our house! Without eyes I will see relatively little…it’s an idea born of desperation and the knowledge that Steve on a cleaning jag is a terrifying creature.


“Yes? Can I help you?”
DSCF7700“I didn’t think so…zzzzzz”

I have started reading “Zero Waste Home” a most interesting concept. I love the idea of minimising our waste out the wazoo. I love it so much I follow blogs about it. I trawl the web to find interesting ideas for how to reduce and remove packaging. I love it so much it makes me smile whenever I find another way to do something myself that doesn’t involve packaging or anything that needs to be thrown out in any form. The book highlights the divide between the haves and have nots however. It is very hard to get someone who has very little money to stop using coupons to save money and to stop accepting those little free shampoos and conditioners at hotels. The reason being that a lack of money tends to foster a need to hoard. I often wrestle my inner desire to snaffle up the little shampoos (and I usually lose). It is much easier in a country like Australia where you just don’t have coupons. I watched a few television programs about people who clip coupons for a living and couldn’t believe how complex it was…it was like undertaking brain surgery or teaching an astro physics class except the brains were cauliflowers and you bought 75 of them in order to get them for free. I still can’t get my head around it but then it doesn’t matter if I do or don’t because we don’t have coupon’s to clip


Bezial balancing precariously on his sofa that Earl redecorated by eating half of the other sofa cushion. Bezial doesn’t like Earls design. He does however like the nice red dog cotton filled dog blanket that I picked up from the thrift shop on my last visit.


Sticky the stick insect who is refusing to yield his pots to the greater good

I think it is within everyones realm to be able to reduce their impact on the environment. Even baking the odd loaf of bread and choosing to buy a paper bag of lentils from the health food shop rather than throw a plastic bag of them into your trolley at the supermarket. The family in the book apparently only produce a “quart” (4 litres to us metricamacated folk) of refuse a year and that’s all recycling. The family downsized, got rid of their lawn, only buy things in containers that they provide, buy their meat from the butchers in mason jars (I can only begin to wonder what “Nige” would do if I headed in to his shop and said “can you fill this with sausages please…” 😉 ) but kudos to them, they decided to minimise their consumption and waste down as low as they could go. It’s possible. So is living for 5 years without having a shower but at the end of that time you might not want to have anything to do with the triumphant creature that emerged. I think it’s all about balance. I buy my flour and potatoes in bulk in 10kg brown paper bags. I reuse those bags as recycling bags until they are in tatters and then I snip them up and add them to the compost bin.


We get boats chugging up and down the river as it is the only way to get to Launceston by water

We buy 14 loaves of white supermarket bread a fortnight. Not for ourselves but to feed to our chooks. We are in the process of working out what to do with all of those chooks because they are costing us $163 a month to feed and that is only seed. If you add the $14 a fortnight for the bread and $3 a fortnight for the butter it’s a grand total of $197 a month for boobity boo chickens (NO idea how many we have but I recently counted 43 little baby chicks along…) and only 1 of them is laying eggs at the moment. She does her best but our grand total of eggs at the end of the fortnight tends to be around the dozen mark (if we are lucky) so that means that we are paying $98.50c per dozen. Now it doesn’t take me too long to work out that this amount might be a tad high and I don’t even eat eggs! Something has to give. If we reduce the chook population we reduce the price of the food as well. We only need about 8 chooks to do what we want around here and the rest are superfluous. I am considering offering our excess to the local Permaculture group. We have some very pretty chooks and I know that they will appreciate them. I will keep you posted. What I was trying to illustrate was that sometimes mindless habits take on lives of their own and you end up paying a HUGE amount for something that you are pouring a lot of work into for very little return.


“So Steve is going to head into town to go shopping and leave me here eh? Well I might just have to show him my displeasure…”


“I will just steal this piece of driftwood in order to exact my revenge…”

I just took a break to make some homemade pasties for Steve’s dinner tonight. I try to cook as much as I can from scratch because that’s a good way to reduce packaging and get better quality food cheaper. I added some cheese to the pastry that we buy in big blocks. I am wondering if anyone local knows where to buy cheese unwrapped. I know that you used to be able to buy it from the supermarkets but I don’t do the shopping and I doubt that Steve would stand still enough (especially if there was a line) to ask the deli person about it. I am going to have to wait until I go in myself. I have a large bag full of plastic bags etc. that I need to get turned into plarn. I don’t know what I will do with the plarn but I am leaning towards making crocheted shopping bags out of it. I have 3 large crochet hooks and only really needed the smallest for my latest project but it was more economical to buy 3 than it was to buy a single crochet hook. If anyone can explain that to me I will be grateful as I can’t for the life of me work out why it costs more for a single plain crochet hook than it does for 3 metal pastel ones. I keep meaning to start making them and then suddenly the time disappears somewhere and I can’t crochet or read or lay on the floor on my back twiddling my thumbs like Pooh bear any more.


AND he didn’t clean it up! 😉


We took the dogs down to have a look at the enormous wood pile and Earl is more interested in the fact that the gate is open and he might get a walk

I am sure that I am not the only one who hits 3pm running as a steady crescendo of “creation” occurs. By 6.30 when dinner is all served and is being munched contentedly I am starting to feel pretty tired after my long day and it is the norm to find me fast asleep on the couch by 7.30 which is a shame because the only television program that I actually like, Master chef U.K. is on then and I usually miss the end because I have to drag my sorry tired derrière off to bed. The other day I took possession of a wonderful red cast iron casserole dish with a lid as well as a cast iron frypan from Jan who I walk with in the morning. She most generously gifted me the pair as she had just purchased some new cookware that she was happier with and I was the lucky recipient of these lovely cooking implements. The casserole dish is wide and not too deep and will be perfect for cooking in Brunhilda when she is up and running again. It seems like all things point towards this being a winter where narf7 gets cooking bigtime. I have to animate El Camino my lovely white sourdough starter that the wonderful Chica Andaluza  sent to me and I am also going to experiment with my homemade kefir as a leavener. I have some very interesting experiments on the cards involving breads made with vegetables, cakes made from strange and interesting ingredients and all kinds of vegan experiments courtesy of all of the recipes that I have been collecting via the blogs that I have been following avidly and Pinterest where I won’t admit to how many boards or pins I have needless to say its “a lot”.


The lovely cast iron casserole dish and cast iron frypan that Jan gave us and 6 cauliflowers. Don’t ask. That’s what happens when you are vegan and eat by the season and cauliflowers are $1 each and when you get them home you realise that there is no room in the fridge…sigh… the apples in the cava fruit bowl are strange and wondrous. I haven’t ever eaten them before and they are an interesting meaty textured apple with very little juice but they are sweet at the same time. Not quite cooking apple but not really something that you would wax lyrical about so I am grating them into my breakfast buckwheat porridge and for that purpose they are just “perfick” 🙂

Well I think that might be all for today folks. I can’t seem to just “stop” at 600 words like blog posts are supposed to settle at. I don’t know who thought up this magic quotient but they didn’t have 5000 muses all babbling for airtime in their brain like I do and I would like to keep my sanity for at least another week. Have a great week folks and here’s to sunshine for you northern lot and blissful rain for us southerners 🙂



Do you think Mr Leunig would mind if I shared another most worthy example of why I love this man to bits? I hope not…oh well, “In for a penny, in for a pound!” as my old gran would have said! 😉















66 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MinHo
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 16:46:52

    That stick insect…
    I call him Mark Harold.
    DOCTOR Mark Harold.


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2014 @ 17:50:46

      Doctor Mark Harold had to be forcebly ejected from my pots. He was stoic until the end when he was decamped onto the large maple tree on the side of the deck. He didn’t like it and waved his legs at me angrily. I dare say he is off Doctoring some other pot that he has found laying about (until I need it that is!) 😉


  2. teawithhazel
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 17:15:21

    your workload fran is crazy..i’m not surprised you’re comatose on the coach at 7.30..those chooks have to go..they’re just a pack of free loaders! and i love that stick insect..x


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2014 @ 17:51:39

      I am with you on the chooks Jane…how many will you take? 😉 I loved that stick insect as well and he was most bolshie in he wouldn’t get off those pots!


  3. thecontentedcrafter
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 17:28:18

    I do enjoy the bits you share from your Mr Leunig – he would not sue you, he will be most pleased with all the free publicity!

    I absolutely agree with you it is totally a good thing to err on the side of balance when it comes to recycling and all that……. you made your point perfectly when the showerless six months picture was painted 🙂

    It does rather sound like you are about to have a very busy and hopefully, worthwhile, time over Easter with Stevie boy as the boss man. Maybe by the end of it he will be able to affix a button to his trewsers and forego the belt as he shall be several kilos lighter and trimmer! And ready for anything!

    Now his roof dwelling watering system and wicked garden beds thingy sounds quite a feat of wonder. I however have NO IDEA what a wicked garden bed is and need further education here. Is it a garden of some kind that is related to the bad queen of fairy tale fame? Perhaps one grows poison apples here? Or is it perchance related to ‘wicker’ in any way? Is it perhaps a place where one grows weaving canes? I have NO IDEA!!

    Whatever it is, Steve sounds very clever to have designed it. I did not know he was a man of such talent – I thought he played guitar, napped and drooled, made the occasional lovely spoon and ate potatoes [and anything else you put in front of him] and drank beer. You can imagine how much he has just skyrocketed in my estimation!

    But why oh why did he leave the shed door open and what was it growing in there in the semi darkness?


    • narf77
      Apr 16, 2014 @ 17:57:24

      I should have explained that “wicked” isn’t wick-ed but wikkd (all together) phonetically but better than that because I am not Henry Higgins in the least. Wicked garden beds are beds that have been specially created to minimise water loss from the soil. The water is held in a reservoir underneath the plants and “wicked” (like oil lamp wicked) up through the soil to the roots. You top it up through a pipe that leads down to the reservoir. Quite hard to splain but when I do the big post it will all be miraculously clear (as mud). Steve says that he is proud of his ability to pop buttons off at 100 paces. He says it is his stomach muscles NOT fat. He is like the hulk minus the green colouration apparently. He is very glad to have skyrocketed in someone’s estimations because aside from you his fan base is somewhat lacking ;). He likes it like that. He is Stevie-boy the ninja who likes to be underestimated and exceed expectations. It takes a lot of the pressure off him 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 04:47:45

        Ah! ‘wicked’ you should have said! Now it all makes perfect sense – and there he goes floating upwards again…… Sounds like exactly what I need in my (ha-ha) ‘garden’ which is really a pile of dirt sitting on a concrete slab, held in place by some increasingly wobbly half rounds wired together…….. Please inform Steve I am most pleased to make up his entire fan-club – this surely elevates me to the position of “President’ of said fan club? 🙂 He will need one as I suspect there are a few more out there who will want to sign up when they discover the button popping abilities and the wicking abilities too!

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:10:09

        😉 Wicked beds are excellent for small concrete patios as you can build them in tubs. Bev from “Foodnstuff” specialises in growing veggies in small wicked tubs. Here’s a link if you are interested and they are excellent as they use very little water…
        Steve (who is currently sleeping between 2 upside down snoring dogs) will be extremely grateful to have a fan club. He always wanted to be Jimi Hendrix 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:30:52

        Thanks for that Fran – you are an amazing, supportive, fount of knowledge! And it is also amazing to me to think I was so close but so far when I planted up my little tubs a couple of months back – I’m now following her so I can learn more and adapt my little planters come spring.

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:35:30

        Bev is amazing and knows SO much more than I do! I don’t “know” anything per-se, I just know where to find it 😉 Lucky really as my brain is a bit like a leaking sieve at the moment. My latest party trick is to head to the small chest freezer out in the shed where we keep the dogs meat frozen in portions and leave the lid open…all day. Can’t wait to see the next electricity bill! 😦

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:40:30

        I’m not laughing – really ……

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 06:08:58


      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 06:09:13

        Steve isn’t laughing either 😦

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 06:43:26

        Oooops! [muffled snicker]

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:15:48

        This pdf pretty much splains it all 🙂

        Click to access Wicking%20worm%20beds-split.pdf

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:31:59

        Again – thanks – I’ll be much better informed for the next growing season in my tiny courtyard farmlet 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:37:17

        You are welcome ma’am 🙂 I was very excited to find wicked water beds when I first discovered them (on Bev’s blog and I started following her as well 🙂 ) and actually incorporated them into my final landscape design for my diploma course. I love sharing the love 🙂 narf7 is a conduit to learning (I am the copper wire…the bit that passes the information but don’t dip it into your tea or you get sick 😉 )

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:40:00


      • Linne
        Apr 19, 2014 @ 15:56:10

        I have to butt in here; I assumed that ‘wicked’ was ‘super-cool’ as in skateboardland. Now I get it. So, those wick’d beds are very wicked . . . 😉 as is Steve, obviously . . .

      • narf77
        Apr 20, 2014 @ 03:05:28

        Steve is both! 😉

  4. Chica Andaluza
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 01:18:44

    Damn you, am singing the lumberjack song now! Will have to look out for the Ruby Wax book at the local library (I LURVE the library in Bexhill….no library here up the mountain 😦 ) Good luck with the starter – and can you send me the kefir pdf again pretty please as I appear to have lost it since the laptop meltdown. We hauled up another load of logs 2 weeks ago (we cheat, Big Man uses the crane on his lorry to drive into the field next to our house and hauls them over the wall) but as soon as we did that the weather turned warm! Not complaining but will now not be acclimatised for English weather! Love that cooking pot, may you cook many warming and wonderful meals in it.


    • narf77
      Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:07:10

      I was hoping at least one of you would get the Lumberjack earworm ;). The library is my second best friend. The net is my first best friend as I can pilfer with impunity and can often find keepers where the library insists that I take them back (unless Earl has decorated them and then I can keep them but it comes with a cost 😉 ). We had a large truck dump our load at the front gate but then the driver walked up the driveway and said “I could have gotten up here”…so why didn’t you?! At least you will have all of those wonderful logs for your next cold spell. I love that cooking pot too and every time I look at it I think of slow braised onions with balsamic…


  5. quarteracrelifestyle
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:10:44

    I like Ruby Wax and will have to see if I can get that book, I have read a little about her. Love the wee pictures you flogged 🙂

    6 cauliflowers is alot to use! You might want to try those breadsticks you pinned on, yes, your enormous collection of pins 🙂

    It’s going to be a busy weekend here too, finally painting the lounge we have been procrastinating on. This also means putting in 6 downlights and plastering a ceiling that used to be stippled…lucky Roger, 5 days holiday working to get it all done. These poor men have a hard time of it sometimes and they are always the ones out helping others with their hard jobs.


    • narf77
      Apr 17, 2014 @ 05:23:12

      Indeed they are but we are there with them providing endless cups of tea, bickies, good hot comfort food meals and a pat on the back when it is all finished 🙂 I don’t envy you the reno. We had to renovate Serendipity Farm before we could be happy living here. My dad had let the place run to old man bachelor ruin and the oven was cactus and everything else was caked with a layer of dripping (my dad’s favourite food apparently 😉 ). We spent our first winter in the house with no kitchen at all, just a bare stripped back box on concrete sheeting and we have photos of the dogs huddled in blankets around a tiny little gas fire that we pilfered from the unit in town. Needs must as they say and when you finish it will feel bloody amazing 🙂 Can we see the results in a post? I will be magnanimous and allow you a couple of weeks to recover (nice aren’t I 😉 ). That Ruby Wax book has me excited. Her way of dealing with her spiralling depression was to go to university and bloody well do it herself. She learned all about something called “Mindfulness” (I haven’t gotten to that bit quite yet) where you self regulate and mange your own depression (or any other mental problem that you have and she groups overeating, my personal problem, in with it). I love how she writes. Self deprecating, completely and most hilariously honest and for a Yank, she is certainly behind the 8 ball and sharp as a tack. Love her to bits 🙂 Good luck with the reno and tell Roger that I am appreciating his fine work from afar 🙂


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 02:49:27

        Well your kitchen looks lovely now 🙂 Neither of us are particularly excited by renovating or redecorating so we have been sitting in an unpainted lounge for 3 years….there has to be a self imposed limit at some stage 🙂

        Yes, mindfulness is something I know alot about and do myself. Alot of the people I have worked with have done courses in it, some it helps, some it doesn’t. It’s supposed to be the new cure-all but it very much depends on the individual just like meditation. For some that sort of self focus makes their neurosis about themselves alot worse, an unhealthy mind regulating itself is not always helpful BUT even meditation can make me worse to begin with if they have mental issues – persevering and understanding the growth we require is the important thing. She is very sharp, very witty and I will see if I can get her book. I am reading one at the moment called Dispelling Wetiko and really enjoying that – Wetiko being the crazy mind that grows within the mind 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 02:53:36

        That would be what she calls “the voices”. I think you have to be ready to work with something before it can do you any good. I knew how to lose weight, was an absolute expert in it but I wasn’t thin. It takes the ability to see where you are and then take those steps that you need to take to get well sometimes. Some people are too unwell to find that first step place but I get the feeling that this mindfulness is probably a good place to rest for a bit. I don’t meditate or anything. Might be time to learn about it and mindfulness. Cheers for the book share. This brain taming stuff is adictive 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:02:38

        Yes, exactly, it does take the ability to see where you are at and then take the steps. The mind is a most interesting subject and probably what I read most about, trying to fix one’s own mind is a journey which can be long and torturous at times but I like to think we get there 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:05:01

        That’s what I love about this book. Ruby isn’t just content to leave her brain in someone elses hands and medicate herself out the wazoo…she wants to know “why” this happened and how she can deal with it so that she can manage it. Thats proactivity and a place that I like to explore. I think if you are willing to give it a go, you get there. If you just want someone else to deal with it because it is too hard, you don’t get there. It takes effort. Everything that is worth it takes effort 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:10:52

        Very true 🙂 And I really relate to her attitude about things because that’s where I have come from, refusal to be medicate but a desire to learn where my issues have stemmed from and to sort it. One of the hardest things for me is to work with beautiful people who have followed all their doctors/psychiatrists orders of treatment and are medicated to the max but have had little counselling offered, little therapies given etc and who are not able to find it in themselves to find their own answers. It’s a sad world for them.

      • narf77
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:23:15

        Unless you can process the life you are given its a very sad life indeed :(. Ruby shows that mental illness is a terrible thing because it not only disables the person suffering from it and their extended family but it robs people of their lives because everything comes from the brain and it is very hard to get your “car” running if the “battery” is flat. She must have been living in the U.K. for a long time because she has learned how to write with pathos. She is able to make you laugh whilst exposing her fears and weaknesses so that you are really engaged with what you are reading. I loved her explaining about why she decided to go to Oxford and study the processes of the brain (in particular mindfulness) because she was paying a psychiatrist a HUGE amount of money to eat a mustard and corned beef sandwich behind her while she rabbited on and he said “hmmm” with mustard all over his face. She wasn’t getting anything out of it and she certainly wasn’t getting any better! The one thing that she says that I really agree with is that alcoholics have this amazing network around them. She says that they have more meeting places (AA) than Starbucks on every corner and that she says that mentally ill people should have another person who suffers from a similar affliction to share their experiences with (like the buddy system in AA). She quotes that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness and yet it isn’t talked about or accepted in society. If you hide something it festers. If you out it, and you deal with it you can at least start to work on assisting the sufferers and their suffering families to deal with it. I love finding possibilities. Guess it is the glass half full person inside me 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:29:11

        That’s really neat 🙂 I love that, and yep, mental illness is really and truly a personal battle that is very isolating and finding another “buddy” would help many. I work in peer support and to see the light in people’s eyes when you tell them you have been where they are, well, that’s well worth sharing your otherwise very private history. They then open up and talk of their fears, feelings and thoughts in a way they never could with professionals. That’s why I love it. I shall certainly download her book, it sounds right down my alley.

      • narf77
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:33:26

        Warning…don’t drink anything while you are reading it unless your “redecoration” of your lounge requires interesting spatter patterns on the wall 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 03:36:50

        It might give my “Inner Boheme” free license! Pink and Purple everywhere 🙂

  6. teddyandtottie
    Apr 17, 2014 @ 09:31:40

    Love this thoroughly entertaining post, Narf7. You have inspired me, among other things, to cook more from scratch. I am not a great cook by any means so any inspiration is very much appreciated! Love the Leunig stuff – and your gorgeous puppy dogs. Good luck with the hard work over Easter on Serendipity Farm. I, too, will be heading home from the coast to a mountain of weeds in the Oasis, no doubt – and a big job preparing the veggie beds. Big hugs to Earl and Bezial – and have a great Easter in your beautiful part of the world! xoxoxoxoxox


    • narf77
      Apr 17, 2014 @ 12:05:50

      I am with you on the veggie bed terror and will be bums up covered in aged leaf mould, spent (I hope…) horse manure and seaweed…IF we can get the rainwater tank off the trailer. If we can’t, I will be right here typing and reading my RSS Feed Reader 😉 I hope you have a great Easter break as well and that Teddy and Totty get their weights worth of Easter chocolate (can’t wait to read that sugar high post 😉 )


  7. rabidlittlehippy
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 08:58:27

    Let’s see after 20 years, how much I can remember…

    Come all you battery chickens
    With cramped up wings and legs
    Prepare those aching bottoms
    To lay some extra eggs. 

    And do be warned my little fowl
    The future could be bleak
    They say retirements awful
    With an amputated beak.

    There were 2 more stanzas but buggered if I can remember them. It’s from back in the day when Leunig used to draw for the Herald Sun newspaper.

    Another I remember and loved was:

    A part of Spring you’ll always dread
    Once you’ve had it in your head
    Unsuspected sharp and sleek
    The dreadful swooping magpies beak.

    The man is a gem!

    What happened to those seedlings too? Hmmm? Is Aunt Tilly going to scold?

    Lovely to see more Bezial photos too. Earl seems so very much larger than life but loving photos of the black shadow. 😉

    Enjoy your long weekend. 😀


    • narf77
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 10:10:00

      I thought you were AWOL? I hadn’t answered your email because I thought there was no point 😉 Aunt Tilly was VERY angry and certain husbands and chooks were severely reprimanded. There may or may not (err on the side of guessing “may”) have been swearing and arm flailing and tears…some of them survived 😦 The black shadow is loving this cooler weather and is zooming about the place. He is like “Dog” in the Footrot flat comics and that would make Earl Major 😉 Bezial is currently the “Scarlet Manuka” if you remember that episode where the dog was the hero ;). He has been set on “watch the old girl” duty by Earl as Earl snuggles in to Steve on the couch while he plays mafia games. Bezial doesn’t mind, he is snuggled up in a nice warm blankie on his couch (well… what is left of it…) Steve is currently working on killing some gangsta’s singing “Get up stand up” as he has sided with the Rastafarians…it’s NEVER boring around here! 😉 I am making hot cross buns at the moment. Hope they work out. Will head off and send you an email now I know you can get it 🙂


      • rabidlittlehippy
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 20:50:34

        My mobile phone is a wondrous piece of technology. No rss feed but I do remember the names of at least some of the blogs I follow. 😉 And contrary to what I said, I’ve not yet deleted the wordpress app on here either (blush) so I’m semi in touch with the world. Not too much though. 😉

      • narf77
        Apr 19, 2014 @ 06:03:07

        Oh SHAME! You just outed yourself 😉 A good idea to keep as a backup as you just found out so maybe just leave it there…for a little bit… 😉

  8. brymnsons
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 12:20:51

    Hello Fran! I’ve just read three of your posts in a row! I too have been AWOL, having travelled to Perth last, last Wednesday (9th). It has been go, go, go since then. Starting with a trip to the Emergency via an ambulance for Bruce. Slipped on the tiles and smashed his head into the corner of the table, then, not happy with that damage, dragged his scalp down the corner of the bench seat. Scary, fast and bloody!! Resulted in 2 stitches in the split from the table, super glue in the gouge from the bench seat and no fractures, thank goodness. He managed to damage the corner of the bench seat, and in the typical male style, is quite proud of that. He woke up the next day feeling pretty good, considering, and I had a huge headache! We had a curb pickup due on the Monday so we were busy, busy getting all the stuff that seems to accumulate each year out onto the verge. We have also been busy fixing all the things that have stopped working or broken in our absence and rushing around trying to get tiles, fixtures and fittings sorted as we have decided to have the bathrooms updated. Phew I’m tired just typing it lol. On top of that we have also been catching up with family and friend too. Anyway back to your posts. I love the photos of Bezial when he was young, such a handsome young doggy. He’s looking wise now 🙂 I also like the look of that stick insect, how funny he wouldn’t move. Imagine what he was muttering under his sticky breath. Did you see those huge insects I had on fb? They were like giant leaves with legs. Poor Steve with those amazing abs that power pack the buttons off his pants. Bruce has this lamentable ability too! 😀 I know what you mean about the hot dog next to you and taking the quilt off and on all night. Toby is a much smaller version of heater but man he can heat me up, so I can only imagine the effect of your much larger version, Hiroshima dog lol. We are plodding around the house for Easter, still fixing stuff and refitting stuff. I have bought my hot cross buns, so I am jealous of your cooked variety. The kitchen will be smelling lovely. I’m glad you were able to make Steve an acceptable version of “liquor.” Always good to get rid of the packet variety. I, for one, would love to sample your home made pie, but hey everyone has their own tastes eh… Anyway guys have a lovely Easter and I don’t envy you that pile of wood x


    • narf77
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 12:57:31

      Oh NO about Bruce! Is he ok now? I love how you got the headache

      rather than him ;). That stick insect was hell bent on staying

      put on those plant pots. I had to shake them hard over the deck

      before he let go and plummeted to the shrubbery below. I reckon

      he was quite put out by it all ;).

      It’s Steve’s own fault for having such an AMAZING set of abs ;).

      (Potato and beer powered abs 😉 ). I have the buns half done.

      Waiting for them to proof again prior to forming into buns and

      then proving for another hour! A long process but the dough

      looks lovely and I just formed it into bun shapes (although they are going to be HUGE when proved) so wish me luck. Steve only wants a couple so I am going to take a couple down to Glad next door. Have a great Easter and when you say envy with the wood, that’s Steve’s job. I am the chief cook and bottle washer 😉


      • brymnsons
        Apr 18, 2014 @ 19:14:50

        Fortunately Bruce has a very solid head, as evidenced by the damaged solid wood bench seat! He had his stitches out on Thursday and, apart from the sore neck muscles, has bounced back (sorry about the pun :/). Good to be slothful on the couch, I am being slothful on the chair with the laptop lol. The hot cross buns looked amazing btw 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 19, 2014 @ 06:02:29

        Those hot cross buns have a texture like brioche rather than regular bread and seem to be a lot softer so hopefully this morning they won’t be rocks like my usual hot cross buns are ;). Steve needs a solid breakfast as he is off to be a lumberjack down at the front gate all day so one of those hot cross buns (or 2 but they are HUGE) will be traversing its way down his alimentary canal (Mr ) in the not too distant future. I am going to pull out the laptop and settle down on the sofa as well. I keep forgetting that we have one after we refused to use it for years as it was loaded with Vista and took 30 minutes to load! I kid you not…30…minutes…just.. to…load! It was slow as a wet weak and so we just forgot about it. We got it reformatted with windows 7 and it goes MUCH faster now but we just got used to “not” using it rather than using it so we are in the habit of ignoring it 😉

        Glad to hear that Bruce has “bounce back” (GROAN!) they made them tough last century ;). Have a great rest of your Easter and don’t get too cold. It’s 6C here at the moment Brrrrrr

  9. Boomdeeadda
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 17:22:53

    Good morning Narf77 😀 Or it may as well be. At 1:08am I’m a tad sleepy but I had to stay up just a little to read your weekly post. I’m having a deja vu just then. I think that’s what happened last week too. Those Deja Vu’s are something odd but fun too.

    There is just never a dull moment for you, is there? LOL I’m cracking up at Earl making himself at home on your counter, he shamelessly could care less that you’re taking his picture up there either. A++ for Attitude Earl. Looking adorable with his cover up too.

    Note to self, knock shoes on steps before wearing them. I used to do that alllll the time but then convince myself it was just a silly ritual and broke out of the habit. Now reading about spiders in your shoes gave me the willy’s and I’m going right back to my old ways…..bad habit or not. There is NO, that’s an N with an O, room for spiders in my life. nadda, nohow, no way.

    Good Luck this week with woodpiles, knitting, cauliflower, horse poo and lord only knows what else. I’m afraid to ask, LOL. BTW, those are pretty fancy carpets for outdoor patios, very posh! 😀


    • narf77
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 17:35:01

      LOL we had those carpets in the shed till we decided to go all bohemian on the deck after we painted it for summer. They are still there and will probably still be there at the end of winter (we are nothing if not constant 😉 ). Earl is a cheeky bugger (as we Aussies would say) a quintessential Larrikin and he really could care less what we think which makes it very difficult to reason with the little darling 😉

      The spider inhabitants were big. They were big and black…big black and hairy…another “B” word comes to mind whenever I think of spiders in my shoes…”BOLLOCKS!” I forgot to share the pictures of me tunnel mining my shoes with the poor long suffering duster (and what happened to the duster when Earl realised that it was mooching on his territory…) I will share them in the next post.

      Just made some hot cross buns. Obviously I couldn’t make normal ones (as I forgot to buy the right kind of jam to glaze them with) and so strawberry hot cross buns were born (of necessity). Just gave 4 of them away and the recipients not only didn’t die, but they texted and pronounced them delicious (must have been all of that cocaine I put in them…)

      I am on a horse poo promise for next weekend, the woodpile remains stoically intact (rain…it’s our excuse and we are sticking to it!) and aside from the hot cross buns I have been shamelessly slothing about, watching television and lolling about draped with blankets on sofas doing sweet bugger all…ah the bliss of cold weather! 🙂


  10. Boomdeeadda
    Apr 19, 2014 @ 01:20:13

    It’s always good when your home baking doesn’t kill anyone, LOL That made me laugh. We too have weather woe’s today. Woke up to a healthy blanket of white, which is complete nonsense for April 18th, even in Canada. Honestly, there is an entire country of insanely over rot Canadians who are being pushed to the brink with this rotten winter. Never has it been so long, so cold and so flipping annoying. I fear the unstable ones may begin to snap shortly if things don’t turn around soon.
    “Must…remain…..calm” (say it like Captain Kirk – USS Enterprise) LOL. I shall take a page out of your book and drape myself in a blanket and hang around WP this morning. Cheers my dear.


    • narf77
      Apr 19, 2014 @ 06:20:51

      Starship Log…Captain Kirk – USS Enterprise “the natives are becoming restless. Mr Spock has had to effect the Vulcan death grip on several of them in order to keep the peace. We think it can’t last much longer. Scotty has been heard to mumble under his breath “it’s gonna blow captain!” and Dr McCoy isn’t any help with his “I’m a doctor, not an escalator!” I fear we are losing control of this far flung outpost and it might be time to leave…over and out” “BEEP” (that was that thingo that he talked into…my daughter is a Trecky and would KILL me for not knowing that as she bought a pretend one from ThinkGeek)

      We NEVER GET SNOW! Now I know why. All of you Canadians hog it to the max. I think you are being a teensy bit selfish in not sharing it with the rest of the world and all. I reckon you could at least take a bit of our hot weather and share the load. At least we will both be draped and drooped on the sofa and trawling the net…wait a minute…that means that we will be competing for the same information! “I bagsed it first ma’am!” 😉 Have a great day trawling (don’t look up “how to make tofu from beans other than soy” as I already stole all of that information…just sayin’…) I will be listening to the dulcet tones of the chainsaw at the front of the property and the loud swearing that wafts in the breeze that seems to always accompany the silences in between 😉


      • Boomdeeadda
        Apr 19, 2014 @ 13:57:33

        mmmm, you say your daughter bought the thingo from ThinkGeek but you certainly have the Trekkie lingo down. ??? Except for Bones saying, “I’m a Dr. not an escalator”….LOL I do NOT remember those lines but it sure made me laugh.
        Sounds like Steve and my dear Mr B go about projects with the same zeal for the highbrow english language. It’s like having a child, I only worry when it’s quiet.

        Your covert information gathering on, “how to make tofu from beans other the soya” is not at risk of perusal by me, hahaha I can assure you, while I am a vegetarian, I have not yet had the notion to make my own Tofu. I bow to your earthiness.

      • narf77
        Apr 20, 2014 @ 03:41:45

        Bones must have said it in one obscure episode because my eldest daughter uses that as her signature in emails. She is a devout trecky ;). I don’t just worry when it goes quiet, I panic! Stevie-boy tends to go at things like a bull at a gate. The problem is, sometimes the gate fights back! I hook up the cavalry (well…Earl, Bezial can run ahead as he doesn’t use his beak to wade through chooks etc. and tends to go where he is told where Earl tends to stop for a chicken dinner on the go… sigh…) and head down to the area that just went suspiciously quiet with hot towels and a large bottle of antiseptic. Yesterday’s suspicious quiet was the result of a man operating a large machine (mechanical block splitter) whilst drinking beer. Apparently the machine and the wood blocks were taking up precious arm space (you apparently need “2” arms) so he had stopped for a beer break…

        Same goes for Earl. If he goes quiet or you can’t see him in your peripheral vision for a while you worry. I don’t have to worry too much because I have dobby Bezial who lets me know in NO uncertain terms when Earls playful pranks escalate into naughtiness that must be dealt with (on a very regular basis) as he runs up to me with his head down and a very worried look on his face and rubs his face up against my leg as if to say “look…it wasn’t me ok? I had NOTHING to do with it…I am the “good dog” remember? I don’t want any of the yelling that is just about to erupt directed in my (sensitive) direction ok?” and that makes me rocket from my chair, the kitchen sink, wherever I am and go find out just how much damage Mr E has done …sigh…

        I am positively filthy with earthiness ma’am. I am one of those weird and most unusual creatures that brews her own ferments on the countertop. Stevie-boy seems to be ok with most of them (aside from when I drank an over fermented batch of my kefir and got rat arsed drunk and couldn’t stand up…) the exception being my attempt to make kimchi where as a vegan I obviously couldn’t add those little fishies and squid lumps and fish sauce that give it that umami taste so I did the next best thing and tossed in a whole lot of the weeds of the sea. The thing about the weeds of the sea is that when they start to ferment they smell JUST like the fish of the sea when they are washed up on the shore and spend a week or so baking in the lovely hot sun. My kimchi went from countertop to shed in an afternoon 😉

        I found a recipe for Burmese tofu which uses chickpeas instead of soy and noticed on another blog (vegan richa) that someone is now making tofu out of black beans. I only recently discovered black beans as they are not something that we Aussies have had much experience with (not being tacked onto the top part of Mexico and all like you guys are…well you are tacked onto the top of both U.S. continents so does that make Canada the cream on top? 😉 ) and so I bought a bushel of them (like that word. Don’t know what it is but like it…) and after reducing them to a heinous grey/purple sludge on the stovetop I hesitantly tasted them and found them to be the bomb on steroids. I LERVE black beans. To be able to make tofu out of them would be amazing so off narfy went to find herself some recipes.

        What I found was a loose based formula for making “tofu” out of other beans. They don’t turn out quite like tofu, you don’t use the coagulant method, more like making polenta but it’s another protein in my arsenal that I can whip up all by myself and for that, I am most grateful. I am attempting to find beans that we can grow here to get self-sufficient in dried beans one day. A most interesting premise. Life is SUCH interesting fun! 🙂

      • narf77
        Apr 20, 2014 @ 03:43:29

        Oh, by the way, the “knowledge” of Star Trek comes from being Madeline’s mum rather than any desire to watch the show. She is a strict old school Trecky of the 60’s shows. I happen to have the same ability to name every single KISS song that was ever written and recall most of the lyrics as a result of being married to my first husband. Some things just need to be shared (whether you want to share them or not! 😉 ) to keep the peace 😉

      • Boomdeeadda
        Apr 20, 2014 @ 12:00:55

        What a riot you are. I’m sure Madeline knows her stuff. I am a 60’s Trekkie fan too, original series. Although, Chris Pine is no slouch and I love the same humour he brings to the roll. There you have it. I’m a middle aged woman with an appreciation for the likes of a 25 year old…oh dear.
        Earl sounds like a going concern. You just can’t tell these things by the innocence on his face. You’re stove top bean activities slay me. Good for you to learn how to feed your family healthy fair. We do eat pretty healthy but it can’t take longer than 30 minutes in the kitchen, LOL. Hence, salads of every size and shape, pasta, soups, eggs, and of course lots of veggies. I had awesome Mandarin Soya Chicken with peppers and stir fry noodles tonight…whipped it up in 1/2 hour while Mr B.’s Steak sizzled on the Panini Grill. Added some broccoli drenched in Lemon Juice too…not gourmet but pretty yummy. Off I go for some crafting. Happy Easter Narf 😀

      • narf77
        Apr 20, 2014 @ 12:16:54

        I am vegan, Stevie-boy is not. Enjoy your crafting 🙂

  11. Joanna
    Apr 19, 2014 @ 08:27:12

    How big is Sticky? He looks enormous, the only stick insects I remember were kept by a child at school and they were only a few inches long. I don’t think I could cope with your insects, would spend a lot of time jumping back and then shutting my mouth in case they jumped in. I know you are going to say I would get used to them… I have a little Leunig printed off that you sent me one time, it is above the computer, I hope he can’t see it either but if he can I hope he knows he is adored and loved. I don’t understand about the boats, do you have no submarines or porpoises to port stuff up the river, speaking of which there was a wonderful howler of a sentence in The Times today regarding the Vikings which I may have to email you. But now it is the equivalent of 7.30 on your sofa and I am going to have to say good night x Joanna


    • narf77
      Apr 19, 2014 @ 09:24:22

      Sticky was very big indeed. They don’t bite, just sort of “hover” around waving back and forth. As a defence mechanism it’s right up there with daddy longlegs benignly shaking their web to scare you off. He was unceremoniously dumped into the maple tree off the side of the deck. The last I saw of Mr Sticky he was grumpily and most stiffly strutting off to seek out another stack of pots which, to be honest, isn’t difficult on Serendipity Farm, they are everywhere.

      We do get some very pretty insects as well. Lovely green diaphanous things and gorgeous Christmas beetles that are so pretty you could wear them around your neck but the big hairy ones are NOT my friends. I shuffle them out as soon as they wander in and wasps get the same treatment, a glass over the top of them and an envelope shoved under them and “WOOSH” out the window they go!

      I loved that little Leunig that I sent to you. I thought it was particularly poignant and Mr Leunig is anything but mainstream. His current angst is against our government who insist on turning all of the migrants back at borders and whom he obviously DIDN’T vote for (good Mr Leunig, neither did I! 😉 ).

      LOVED that sentence…loved it and shared it whilst howling with joy :). My ex comes from Danish decent so those Vikings bore a striking resemblance to my kids. I figure if they are going to do something memorable, may as well do it as their Viking ancestors would have done 😉 I see you are still up. Have a great night, morning, lunch, whatever you are doing when you read this. I am off to make buckwheat porridge for my breakfast tempered with sesame pulp from my milk making. Tames that delicious slime a little. Never managed to work out how I can love the buckwheat slime so much but abhor the slime that oozes from okra in the same breath…isn’t the human mind/body a curious thing? 😉 Have the BEST Easter and hopefully your hot cross buns are at least as good as my “Jammy Dodgers” were 🙂


  12. Linne
    Apr 19, 2014 @ 16:19:06

    I love Mr. Leunig, thanks to you! He should pay you for the advertising, I think . . .

    The Lumberjack Song is one of my favourites. Cute reference to the Canadian Mounties, eh? My Dad was a lumberjack, but he never wore women’s clothing . . .
    I was thinking I should be more like Steve; on second thought, I, too, shall have my eyes surgically removed (to be replaced when behind a book or in front of the computer, of course . . .

    I’m wondering why you are feeding your chooks bread? Bread isn’t supposed to be good for birds, so far as I know. If you go to, Sarah has tutorials on sprouting fodder for livestock, including chooks. Look at her stats for money spent on grain and amount of sprouted feed produced (about three times as much); you may find it helpful. Thanks to Jess the RLH for putting me on to Sarah and her adventures on her wee farm. Not to mention her Etsy store! 🙂

    Perhaps you have a few meals of ‘cauliflower rice’ in your future? I’ve made it a few times and loved it, then forgot about it. After seeing your photo, I went out and bought a lovely (single) cauli and will be making that soon.

    That Zero Waste Home sounds good; I’m going to see if my library has it here. Yep, they do, but I couldn’t put a hold on it; they are doing some computer stuff over the long weekend. I’ll try again tomorrow. Thanks for the recommendation.
    I love the idea of shopping in bulk, too, but we don’t use enough of most things and are already stretched for storage space. I can live with stacks, but Mum can’t.
    LOL, Earl and the driftwood! Good thing it’s not MY driftwood, though. Mine is ‘special’, every piece of it. And don’t ask how many pieces, either . . . 😉

    Chica’s sourdough starter sounds very interesting and I’m waiting to hear of your adventures.

    I just looked for the Ruby Wax book, but my library doesn’t have it; think I’ll fill in a ‘suggestion’ slip next week . . .

    I have repinned some of your Pins, but honestly, I’m never going to even attempt most of what you have on your board, so I’m just picking and choosing. Yummy stuff you’ve gathered, too. If Steve keeps complaining about being ‘just one man’, you will have to either gather a harem (they’d be useful for chopping wood, too) or else open your own soup kitchen . . .

    Do you know what kind of apples those are? I like slicing or roughly chopping apples into my oatmeal.

    I love the second offering by Mr. Leunig, too! Thanks and I hope you share more of his work.

    Oh, nearly forgot . . . Steve and Bruce might try sewing their buttons on with elastic thread . . . or they will have to switch to sweatpants . . . those abs are likely to go on doubling in strength . . .

    Have a great Easter weekend! ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Apr 20, 2014 @ 03:21:08

      lol 🙂 I have no idea what those apples were. I take a chance and buy “juicing apples” for $2 a big bag rather than named apples for $4 a big bag. Makes sense and I could care less what apples I get. I think they have some older trees in the orchard that produce “different” apples and they just toss them into the juicing pile rather than bother with trying to get picky consumers to buy them. Here everyone wants gala apples. I love finding something new and these apples are quite large, look a bit green but are actually very sweet, lack a lot of juice and are sort of “meaty” for want of a better word but are excellent chopped finely in my buckwheat porridge. Again NO idea what they are but I guess them’s the breaks when you choose “juicing apples” over named brands, a great apple adventure :). I have a great recipe that I am going to try tonight for this sauce in this dish that uses a cup and a half of cauliflower and some sweet potato to make an amazing looking version of mac n’ cheese minus the pasta and using more cauliflower so a vegan cauliflower cheese YUM. Have a look at this site, another incredibly clever vegan chef sharing how to make veggies AMAZING 🙂 I hope you have a fantastic weekend to Linnie. Steve chopped a fair bit of that wood pile and is going to split it with a mechanical block splitter that we borrowed from a friend today. Stewart and Kelsey are coming to visit in their little car that they just bought from Stewarts boss for $500 so they are going to get roped in to working as well…the more the merrier! 🙂


      • Linne
        Apr 21, 2014 @ 07:48:04

        Thanks, Narfie! I checked out that site and have saved it to my list. That recipe looks awesome! Good thing help is on the way (or has arrived and been roped in LOL) – work always is more fun when shared (well, unless people are grumpy ;-( )

      • narf77
        Apr 23, 2014 @ 04:06:14

        I have had a cold for a few days now and accompanying headache and we have just had an extended “weekend” thanks to Easter and I got jumbled up and posted my blog post a day early! Hope no-one minded 😉 OOPS! Glad you are busy as well…”busery loves company” 😉

  13. Robbie
    Apr 20, 2014 @ 14:36:09

    I have my grandmothers + my mother’s cast iron pans…you don’ t need any others! I season them , if I remember -lol+ there is nothing you can’t cook in those pans! \

    I have no idea how you do all that you do !!! You must be related to the energizer bunny! I get a kick out of your posts:-) I have “stuff gather” rooms in my home + how does that happen all the time. I clean it all out ,but I am married to a pack rat + I have become one with certain things. I have projects to do, but I do clear it all out through out the year, but when the weather is nice it will have to wait for colder days.

    coupons drive me nuts! They are always for things you really don’ t need, so I feel they just entice you to purchase something you would normally not buy. They are never anything that I purchase,but our local store is now “tracking” your purchases , so they give you coupons based on what you buy…creepy-big brother watching.


    • narf77
      Apr 20, 2014 @ 15:43:34

      We don’t have to worry about that creepy big brother couponer as we don’t get them. Our local companies figure that they are going to get our money anyway so why try harder? ;). I try to divest the house of anything threatening to become a “collection”. Steve has his shed full of “stuff” but that’s HIS space and he can cram it to the back gills if he likes but I am pretty careful to keep a lid on it as I had 2 WW2 baby parents who tended to hoard things “just in case”. I must admit to a bowl fetish and I have WAY too many but they are not negotiable necessities 😉


  14. Littlesundog
    Apr 21, 2014 @ 03:02:54

    Sorry to be getting to this so late! With spring in full swing here, I’m outdoors a lot and haven’t had much time at the computer. Is that the same insect as our “Walking Stick” insect here in Oklahoma? Oh, and you know I love those photos of Earl… being, well, Earl. Ya gotta love that fellow!

    I have some cast iron skillets but I use my cast iron griddle the most. I’d love a dutch oven or bean pot but sheesh… so heavy! As I get older and my hands and wrists hurt more, I find my cast iron is used less – and I’m a fairly tough girl!!

    Sane New World looks like something I may like to read! Thanks for the tip.


    • narf77
      Apr 23, 2014 @ 04:02:47

      Sorry I am late to answering this comment Lori, Steve just loaded Windows 8 on our PC and then upgraded to Windows 8.1 and it took 2 days to sort! I have been AWOL in that time but lucky as I have had a cold so I have been resting, drinking tea and soup and generally feeling sorry for myself ;). Yes, I would imagine that our sticky is the same as your walking stick insect. Ours was a big boy and they seem to grow pretty big down here. He REALLY didn’t want to leave that stack of pots and was swaying most menacingly at me but I dumped him unceremoneously off into the maple tree that grows on the side of the deck and the last I saw he was swaying off in a sticky way looking most unimpressed ;).

      Earl is so full of character I reckon I could start a blog called “My name is Earl” and could write a post for him ever single day and would probably have more followers than my blog here ;). He is maturing nicely like a good Stilton. In saying that he often smells like a good Stilton ;). He is certainly enjoying the fact that Steve and I swapped our summer doonas over for winter ones the other day so goodbye to the polyester and hello to the feather and goose-down happiness for him to snuggle into at night ;).

      That shallow casserole dish is heavy but as it has shallow sides it isn’t as heavy as a Dutch oven. I really love it because it looks like I will be able to make paella’s and braises and risotto’s in the oven in it as it is wide and shallow and perfect for that purpose. The little frypan (skillet?) has a metal handle which means that I can make those BIG puffy omelettes that you can only make in the oven so Steve will be happy. I dragged my cold ridden self out to my daughters house in the city yesterday (I am suspicious that I got the cold off them in the first place so wasn’t feeling guilty about taking it back to them 😉 ) as Steve had to prepare Brunhilda for her annual rebirthing by spraying her with some particularly nefarious stuff to prep her surfaces for the coming 24/7 heat that she is going to pump out. I didn’t even care that I felt like death warmed up and even when Stewart (my son) and the girls and their dog Qi all decided that we would take the dogs for a walk together (Stewart took big boy Bezial) and we had a decent walk around their area whereby Earl dragged me all over the place like a red-headed-stepchild in his eagerness to sniff every single lamp post and decorate it accordingly, if it means that Brunhilda is a day closer to being lit I am a happy camper. I have visions of pots of beans simmering on top of her, free hot water and ovens just begging to be filled with all kinds of things. I am going to perfect sourdough bread making this year and will be experimenting with using kefir and kombucha to culture breads and crackers as well so I will have my hands full and won’t be bored this winter at all 🙂

      I am VERY impressed with Sane New World to say the least. I am very skeptical when it comes to therapy and mumbo-jumbo that comes with it. Must be my “Aussieness” shining through but this book makes perfect sense. The “Mindfulness” techniques that she talks about really work and I am using them to tame my inner angst. Amazing how a book that I just thought was going to be funny (because who doesn’t laugh at Ruby Wax?) has given me so much :). Hugs from Shivery Sidmouth where we are enjoying rain, cool weather and crispy mornings all over again 🙂


  15. Linne
    Apr 21, 2014 @ 07:53:19

    I love cast iron best, too. I think that as I get older, using it’s a good way to stay strong. but maybe it depends on how ‘farm girl’ one is; I have no plans to give mine up, ever . . . that would be a sad day . . . Yours is lovely. I have a dutch oven, but it’s one of the old-style, just plain black. I’d love a griddle and also a ‘spider’ (no, not like yours, thanks; they’re lovely outside and they eat flies, but I don’t want anything in my shoes or falling off the ceiling onto my face at night!) No, the spider I want is a large frying pan with short legs so it can be used over the coals of a campfire. I have no plans to give up living rough, either. Not that I’ve done any since I came here, but one day . . .


    • narf77
      Apr 23, 2014 @ 04:14:42

      Your kind of spider sounds right up my alley. My kind of spider is black, inhabits (foolish and lazy) peoples shoes as a nice safe place to live through summer and doesn’t like to abandon ship even when they are being shoved by an errant duster ;). I felt like I had won lotto when Jan said I could have those cast iron cook pots. The big red one is wide but shallow, perfect for slow braises and oven risotto and paella’s and anything else that needs more even spread heat to cook and will double as a large frypan with a lid when I need to cook on top of the stove. Steve sprayed Brunhilda with new paint yesterday. Nasty stuff so the boys and I had to abandon ship for the duration even though I am dripping with a cold and have had a sinus headache for 2 (now 3 😦 ) days but it was entirely worth leaving my comfort zone as we are a step closer to lighting her for the first time this year. Our cool season has certainly started and on Friday we are down to 2C which for us is cold. The lowest we get here on Serendipity Farm (usually) is 0C so our 2C start on Friday is going to be chilly for us. Bruhilda is just about to have her debut for this year methinks 🙂 I am with you on rough living. There is something incredibly satisfying about sitting on a dirt floor and cooking over an open fire. We used to go to a shack with a dirt floor and simple camp stretcher beds and hurricane kerosene lamps on our holidays when we were kids. It was 100 metres away from the sea surf and you could hear the waves as you drifted off to sleep. Our parents would spend the day fishing for large Australian salmon (not the same as your salmon but big and good eating just the same) while we kids wandered around exploring the rock pools around the coastline and swimming and fishing if we felt like it. At night we cooked our fish over camp fires and fell asleep listening to our parents talking while the kerosene lamps exterminated the mozzies that were foolish enough to come inside. I can’t remember much of my childhood but that memory is burned deep in my head 🙂


  16. Margaret Griffin
    Apr 21, 2014 @ 22:35:59

    Hi, I think Michael Leunig has been collected by many Australians at least once in their lives as he has written or drawn something which has struck just the right chord. He deserves to be a National Treasure.

    Before I looked too closely at the photographs of Earl on the table (which provided some amusement), I made sure my little dog, Katie, was asleep. Getting Katie to observe the ‘no dogs on the table’ rule in my household is a work in progress and I didn’t want her led astray by Earl’s free and easy ways.


    • narf77
      Apr 22, 2014 @ 17:04:58

      Clever girl. Earl isn’t a very good role model I am afraid. He idolises Robbie Williams and likes being a charismatic naughty boy ;). I love Mr Leunig. His wisdom cuts right through the rubbish and gets right to the point. He should be our Prime Minister 🙂


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