Sharing is good for everyone. The book that Dr Seuss forgot to write

Hi All,


I can hear the 3.30am mail plane flying overhead as I start typing this blog post. In the midst of my fogyish haze of sickness I pulled a blog post all about soup out of my head. I haven’t re-read it and what seemed like a masterpiece in the midst of my delirium may just be complete and utter rubbish so I am creating a backup blog post just in case. I started off this morning by not wanting to get out of bed when the alarm went off. Now that the mornings are getting colder it is a lot harder to vacate that delicious warm space (especially when there is a questing black nose just waiting to take up residence as soon as you get out…sometimes before you do!) and drag my sorry derrière out in the dark to the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love my early mornings, I am just not very coherent or lucid prior to that first cup of tea.


Brunhilda prior to her inaugural relighting ceremony for the year. Note the lack of a couple of doors. Steve ran out of the special heat proof paint that she needs to be painted with at the beginning of each new burning season and was waiting to pick up another can to spray the last 2 doors. Aside from those 2 doors she is looking pretty shmick


Doors on and you are now sharing the happiness of Serendipity Farm as Brunhilda arises, like the phoenix (without burning herself to smithereens), and starts her tour of duty for our cold season. Note the close proximity of the dogs. They didn’t move from that spot for 2 hours 😉

Since Friday Brunhilda has been back in action. We lit her because Friday was frigid. I even have the chilblains to prove it. It looks like we are going to have a very cold winter period here in Northern Tasmania and Brunhilda is going to be invaluable in getting us mind, body and soul through it. I can’t explain the symbiotic relationship that we share but needless to say we need each other. She purrs like a kitten when I feed her those first few small logs and I purr like a kitten when I get that kettle tic-tacking with the stones that my brother sent me from the beach from my home town that herald boiling point and the imminent arrival of the elixir of great happiness of the soul. After shuffling Bezial from the couch where he has nested in one of the blankets that we leave heaped up so that he can snuggle down for the night, to my warm patch in the bed, I can then begin my mornings.


3am and awakened from her overnight slumber and purring like a kitten full of (logs) cream


Narf7 doing the happy dance to celebrate the awakening of  Brunhilda

Most of the time I read my emails, answer a few blog comments and get started on my RSS Feed Reader but lately I have been discovering some wonderful Pinterest boards that follow my own boards and this morning was no exception. Firstly I have been downloading an amazing haul of precious information that Ms Rabid put me onto. She sourced it via her amazing hunter-gatherer husband Martin and all kudos to him; he is a hunter extraordinaire when it comes to finding the good stuff for the brain. As a penniless student hippy I know the value of free information and he has a goldmine of the good stuff. It would take me a year to get access to all of the pdf’s and precious info that Jess just sent me via the library and the hold and wait scheme let alone the time it would take me to process the information and copy out what was important to me so this is an amazing and most wonderful gift and sharing this information is what forms incredible communities.


“Red sky in the morning…sulking dogs…



The first of the trailer loads of free aged horse manure that we are about to use as part of our veggie garden renovation. Watch this space…


I just discovered that humans are the only thing that balks at change. We hit this seasonal “change” thing enough in our three score years and ten to be more than aware that it is happening and yet we sit back and watch and wait. The rest of nature/the world is all “Alrighty then…let’s get going!” Where Narf7 is holed up with 2 sulking dogs tapping away on a blog post (when she should be stoically braving the rain and getting out into that garden!), our chooks are out tunnel mining their way to China, the garden is waving it’s greenery at the sky the moss, that looks dead and crispy on the rock pathway that leads down through the semi civilised and jungle parts of the garden is “mossing” and the mail lady just sailed right on past our house like she does most days of the year. See continuity is going on all around us. We might be digging in our heels against the cold/heat coming our way but most things just don’t think about it, they are too busy living in the moment.  I have a lovely trailer load of horse manure that needs to be emptied come rain or shine (note to self… “You know when it was nice and sunny yesterday? You remember how that trailer load of dry horse manure sat there all day out in that lovely sunshine? Well next time SHOVEL THAT SHITE YOU LAZY NARF7 BOLLOCKS!” 😉 ) as there are another couple of trailer loads just waiting for me to shovel them up at the stud where Stevie-boy managed to score the owner using his backhoe to shovel the entire first load into the trailer without Stevie-boy having to put shovel to shite once. Autumn is one of the busy seasons and I needs to get me some BUSY


When it’s very cold and you want your yeasted dough to rise you think outside the box. Under that towel is another towel, and under that towel is another one. Under THAT towel is a bowl containing yeasted calzone dough up against a freshly boiled kettle


Calzones prior to baking. Note the dough contains Italian mixed herbs, Parmesan cheese and chilli flakes


Didn’t Brunhilda do a magnificent job and not a speck of caramelisation to be seen 🙂

In saying that, it is SO nice in here. Brunhilda has been pumping out that gorgeous radiant heat that she is so very good at pumping out (…”dear auto-correct…PLEASE stop changing “pumping” to “pumpkin” thank you…) and she now has 2 American Staffordshire terrier “earrings”.  I am just loving all of that free stove-top space, oven space and the ability to just cook something as and when I like. I am going to bake Stevie-boy an apple cake to go with cream for his dessert tonight. Just because I can. The rain is hard, fast and steady outside and I figure it is set in for the day.  Lucky really because otherwise I may just have procrastinated myself out of another day of working on my studies.  I have arrived at a point where I have to sit down with small squares of paint swatches (by the way, “cheers” to the paint manufacturers who are now doing trendy things with paint swatches thus rendering them completely unusable as “squares” by poor long suffering design students…) and stick them into a blank journal in some kind of artistic manner. As a creature of order I have to stop myself from just sticking them all around the outside edge, forming a nice frame and being done with it as I get the feeling that “design” might have more to do with creativity than neatness. Might be time to crack out the kefir, drink me a couple glasses of the bubbly stuff and after about 30 minutes let’s just see how “creative” old Narf7 can get 😉


Good old Sao crackers. Steve picked up a packet in the shopping as he figured he hadn’t had them in ages. Here they are topped with cheese and homemade zucchini, capsicum and chilli relish that our friend Jenny gave us


Anyone for a sandwich?

I had a fan girl moment yesterday. I was checking my emails and one of them notifies me of everyone who has commented on Facebook, This blog and Pinterest and lets me know if I have any new followers (“Hi new followers :)”). I follow a multiple author blog called “Punk Domestics” which is a wonderful source of interesting ways to preserve, grow and “do” things. Yesterday I noted that one of my followers was “Punk Domestics”… “SQUEE!” Oh how PROUD I am! All of the painstakingly pilfered posts and the long hours bent over double myopically peering at the monitor have paid off, I am officially “cool” :). Seriously though folks, it’s always nice to get positive feedback from your peers. If anyone that I admire even looks sideways in my direction I will lay down on the floor and let them walk all over me. I might have to work on that reaction a little bit but generally I am in all consuming awe whenever someone that I admire and respect acknowledges my existence (I can’t believe it…I just spelled “acknowledge” correctly…without the spell checker!)




2 blank journals with little bits of cut up paint swatch. As of 3.20pm today, they are still 2 blank journals with little bits of cut up paint swatch on them…I see no change in the immediate future…

I think I deserve an award. Not one of those awards that you give to someone who has done something majestic or magnanimous or even magnificent to advance the human race, but an award for something that I excelled the rear end out of today. I would like to say that it was something productive but alas it was probably the antithesis of productive. I would just like to ask you all, what is it about us humans that will allow us to go to tremendous measures in order to avoid doing something that we HAVE to do that we don’t want to do? The award that I would like to have bestowed upon my noble narfy brow is the award for incredible procrastination in the face of a rapidly approaching deadline to hand in our studies. Rather than sit down with a pot of glue, a pile of snipped up paint swatches and a brand spanking new blank art journal and start sticking as per instructions, I just spent the better part of 3 hours completely rearranging the lounge room. Not only did I shuffle a few books and sweep the floor, No, I completely rearranged the sofas, the book cases etc. so that it looks completely different.


A friend gave Steve 3 cleaned abalone to try the other day. Flattened to within an inch of their lives and stir fried in garlic butter and Steve says “YUM!” I might not have tried these delicious little mollusks but I do get the shells 🙂


Thanks to most of Tasmania (stupidly) cashing in their wood burning stoves and buying heat pumps we have been having a lot of brownouts and blackouts of late. The power needs to be maintained in the cities so we smaller country outposts have to suck it up and wear the odd blackout. I used up all of my tea-light candles and got Steve to buy me some bigger candles for the next time that it dips below 15C and all of Launceston fires up their heat pumps. Steve stuck the candle into this bottle because it wouldn’t fit on my candelabra (too thin) and it bears a striking resemblance to a most intolerant breed of Southern Americans that shall remain anonymous. Needless to say, I call it my “klu klux kandle” 😉


I steamed these meatballs rather than having them turn out dry from the bbq (prior to Brunhilda being lit) and tossed them through some stir fried veggies and noodles. Apparently they were delicious. Another experiment that worked. I also used some sourdough breadcrumbs that I had dried out ages ago and completely forgotten about but that I found when fishing around in the back of the pantry for something else and used them in these meatballs. Waste not, want not 🙂


Steve’s ÜBER stash of candy coated chocolate balls that I considered eating my weights worth of in order to stop myself from doing my studies today prior to getting stuck into rearranging the lounge room. You will be happy to know that I didn’t eat any and no-one will be more happy to hear that than Stevie-boy 😉

I did have an ulterior motive (other than trying to avoid doing what I am supposed to do at all costs…), when I got back from walking Earl this morning I could smell something in the lounge room, something unpleasant. I have smelled this smell before and it’s usually emanating from something dead of the rodent persuasion. After completely rearranging the lounge room and sniffing everything in turn with my highly suspicious nose, I came up blank. I have a blank journal AND a blank space where a dead rodent should fit. I also found lots of earls hair banked up into a corner doing battle with a small pile of nail clippings from someone who shall remain anonymous. I then realised that the most likely place for the deceased rodent to be festering is in the roof where Steve laid rat baits. The roof space has heated up nicely over the last few days and a semi mummified ex rodent’s foetid carcass would have had just enough time to start reeking to high heavens by now. Problem solved but my studies still aren’t done…


What we are subject to for the whole day when it is pouring down raining and it has sunk in that a walk is highly unlikely


Little wooden hearts that Steve made last year when he got bored of making wooden spoons. I am just about to coax him out of his boredom in order to elicit another lovely wooden spoon out of him so that I can have a blog give away

I won’t show you any photos of the new furniture arrangement in the lounge room because I haven’t quite decided if I like it or not. I am reserving my (procrastinating) right to completely dismantle everything tomorrow and spend the rest of the day hauling it all back to where I dragged it from today. I think the next time that Steve wants me to do something particularly nefarious, he should just give me the alternative action of having to do some studies and I will be SO there. I hope you are all settling into your new weather patterns. Ours appear to be wet and cold and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. Brunhilda is back and pumping out the happy rays of warmth and Earl and Bezial are now firmly welded to her deliciously heat wafting side panels. I am relishing all of this newfound cooking time where I can actually bake a cake that might have a normal base rather than half (burned black) caramelised. I baked a delicious apple blondie last night and it turned out fantastically. Steve had some warm from the oven with a large splodge of cream and even though he had eaten a large serving of spaghetti topped liberally with a hefty smattering of my slow cooked bolognaise, he actually had another serve of apple blondie. In my books, that means that it’s a winner! No protestation about “I am only ONE man” and a most content Stevie-boy. Looks like it might be time to crack out El Camino, my wonderful white sourdough starter from Spain and see if narf7 can get back on the sourdough horse…”YEE-HA!”

77 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. rabidlittlehippy
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 18:26:22

    You really are my favourite fruit loop. 😉 Nothing like the first fire of the year. Last year it was the last day of summer. This year it was somewhat later. Is Brunhilda hooked up with a water jacket? Nothing like toasty freely heated hot water either. 🙂


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:08:23

      Yup FREE HOT WATER! 🙂 I am doing the happy dance in my head just thinking about it :). I just cranked her up again. Its as cold as a witches proverbial here this morning and Bezial hightailed it into the warm spot in my bed as soon as he heard me tippy-tapping out to the kitchen but soon the house will be toasty warm all over again thanks to Brunhilda and her blissful radiant heat :). Hugs from Sidmouth 🙂


  2. The Snail of Happiness
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 18:57:20

    I rarely do housework unless there is a deadline for something else… my house was at its cleanest when I was studying for my MEd with the Open University!
    I love those wooden hearts, by-the-way 🙂


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:09:21

      LOL! I am with you on the housework. I might fold washing today…I might mop the floor and perhaps get stuck into the bathroom… 😉


      • rabidlittlehippy
        May 01, 2014 @ 07:19:14

        My washing needs folding if you need more procrastination.

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 08:27:46

        Just the ticket! I will be on the evening express…leave me out the washing AND I will iron it! ;)_

      • rabidlittlehippy
        May 05, 2014 @ 15:57:13

        You failed to appear and my washing pile is even bigger now. When you coming? 😉

      • narf77
        May 06, 2014 @ 02:46:17

        I see…I am being used for YOUR procrastination now eh? I guess it’s only fitting ;). I was duck rescuing remember. Still alive by the way, the poor thing found the food and ate SO much. I am going to report that man to the RSPCA here for animal cruelty. I hope they take all of his poor starving animals away from him 😦

  3. gardeningkiwi
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 19:17:20

    Hi Fran. I’m normally a great procrastinator from way back, but at the moment – even procrastination knows – it daren’t raise it’s head as the deadlines I have at the moment are really tight! Too much to do, so little time.
    Although I did take a break from what I should be doing to read your wonderful words!
    All the best with what you have to do!
    Cheers Sarah : o )
    NB: you will always find student flats have the cleanest loos at exam time!


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:11:24

      There is an undercurrent of procrastination being linked to studies here…I reckon that lets me off the hook as I am not setting a precedent, just falling victim to an already existing protocol. It’s my excuse and I am sticking to it! Hope that deadline is met easily and that you sail through your upcoming visit sideways (not really “down under” for we Southerners 😉 ) and have a ball over the channel 🙂


      • gardeningkiwi
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:06:24

        Hi Fran. I have already had my first trip to your wonderful country. A weekend exploring gardens in the Blue Mountains. It was amazing! Check out my blog.
        But we shall be returning again in two weeks – although just passing through. As much as I am tempted to procrastinate…. I do work well under pressure….. Even I realise this is not possible this time.
        Take care and have a really productive day.
        Cheers S : o )

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:12:13

        I have been procrastinating out the wazoo to avoid studying, you would think I would be making good use of my excuse that I am behind in my RSS Feed Reader blogs to get out of it wouldn’t you? It would seem that wouldn’t be the case as that’s something else I am procrastinating about…I prefer rearranging the loungeroom and heading to the next best thing to Brunhilda – Pinterest – to calm my nagging sense of an upcoming deadline…”deadline? Nope…time to start folding those socks and I am SURE I have a basket of ironing stashed away someplace…” 😉

      • gardeningkiwi
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:16:07

        Proper procrastination isn’t properly productive either – you can’t do something else productive in it’s place – it has to be something that doesn’t really need doing or something you will kick yourself about – like reading junk on the internet instead of the stuff you enjoy!
        S ; o )

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:22:31

        (you mean like spending whole days on Pinterest? 😉 )

      • gardeningkiwi
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:24:02

        Yup – been there (but shhh don’t tell anyone)

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 05:29:58

        (I won’t 😉 )

  4. Florida
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 20:05:04

    Welcome! Brunhilda you are back and awake! It means the seasons are in alignment, gotta love those minus temps! Northern Tas Rocks!!


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:14:06

      It most certainly rocks Ms Florida and most probably snows the way the temperature has been dropping of late :). Batching up your new baby today ready for her to be transported to the gulags (you guys are MUCH colder than we are 😉 ) tomorrow with Stevie-boy. Message me your email address in Facebook and I will send you that pdf about what to do with your new baby and how to keep her happy. To everyone else reading this, Florida is about to become the proud parent of a brand new baby kombucha SCOBY (I am NOT running an illicit baby selling scheme!)


  5. brymnsons
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 21:11:49

    I’m with The Snail of Happiness too, love those wooden spoons. How lovely to have your Brunhilda glowing away in the house again. I wish I had one in this house as it gets cold here and we only have a gas heater in the one living area (thank god I might add) but when we go into the lounge we have to lug the now hot heater into the lounge and plug it in, which is not easy. I have to rely on Bruce to do it as I just can’t get it to twist into place. The house next door has a lovely version of your stove and it is being taken out and replaced! She is rather sad about it. It is getting harder to roll out of my warm, cosy bed. Luckily our dogs fit in the middle of us 🙂 They look at me like hey where are you going, now that side is cold lol.


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:20:31

      That would make you the dogs very own hot water bottle ;). Why are they removing their wood stove?!!! Will they let you have it? It would be fantastic out in the garden as a very eccentric bbq in Perth? No harm in asking… bugger on the gas heater having to be lugged around. Is it worth buying another one yourselves so you don’t have to lug? Stewart and Kelsey’s little flat has a fitting for a gas heater and I told them to get a couple of gas bottles from Bunnings and buy a little gas heater that will heat up their little unit and make it cosy and warm. Hugs from frigid Sidmouth to warm you up and Brunhilda sends wafts of lovely hot air over the miles 🙂


  6. brymnsons
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 21:12:21

    Err make that hearts…


  7. Littlesundog
    May 01, 2014 @ 01:44:04

    Darned it! I was just thinking I might get through an entire blog post of yours without breaking into crazy laughter, and then you got me near the end – talking about the “something dead of the rodent persuasion”. How many times haven’t we all had THAT experience, sniffing around in search of a carcass that we never find or determine is in a spot we cannot get to? Just a few weeks ago I was working in the woods, clearing downed limbs and branches when a horrible, rank stench came wafting my direction. For THREE DAYS I searched, and hoped whatever it was might be drug way off into the distance by a hungry predator or a vulture… but no. Each day I worked down there the smell was worse. Finally, on the 4th day, I noticed a wad of hair near the buggy path through the woods. I poked around and sure enough, just a stone’s throw from where I’d been working was the very decomposed carcass of an old opossum that I’d noticed was no longer visiting the deer feed pans at night. He’d been close to where I was working but his bones and flesh were so camouflaged in the dried leaves that I hadn’t noticed him!

    Brunhilda sounds lovely. FD has a nice old stove at his cabin. I wish we had one like that here… perhaps someday. Isn’t it wonderful to be indulging in cooking this time of year? I’m salivating… those baked goods look scrumptious!


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:26:16

      Most city people just don’t realise what we poor country people have to put up with when it comes to the many and varied critters that want to crawl into our roof space to cark it! We can only hope it is a rat as they decompose quicker but if it’s a possum we might be a month with that wonderful aroma of eau de morte wafting in on the heated breeze at will. Poor old opossum… his stench will not let you forget him in a hurry :). Brunhilda IS lovely. She is my saving grace here in the winter. It must seem a bit nuts to you guys who are heading into summer seeing me rejoice over winter and the cold and my fire but I know that you guys get it when it heats up and you would just love to go back to a few nice days of winter for a little while, just for a break. How are you guys faring with the tornado’s? We have been seeing the aftermath on the TV and it’s horrific what the tornado belt have to go through yearly. I bet your insurance premiums are ridiculous 😦 Hope your spring is heating up nicely and that old opossum can now leave this world in peace knowing that his stench was great 😉


  8. quarteracrelifestyle
    May 01, 2014 @ 02:29:49

    Oh, I would love a Brunhilda! As a fellow procrastinator I well and truly hear you….I am trying my hardest to change my ways because after you do all those other jobs that aren’t always necessary right now you still have to do what you are trying to escape! But some very funny mind games go on there and they are interesting to observe in one’s self lol


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:27:56

      I was hoping that they were interesting to observe in someone else as I had procrastinated myself to Wednesday arvo and STILL hadn’t finished my blog post ;). Brunhilda is my best buddy all winter long. We work in harmony and have a symbiotic relationship. I feed her, she gives me my hearts desire. I am sure that there is a Grimm’s fairy tale in that one! 😉


  9. Boomdeeadda
    May 01, 2014 @ 03:15:05

    Holy baking Brunhilda Batman, you’ve been busy in the kitchen. How do you manage all the baking without putting on any weight. I love to bake, but I also love to eat baking so I only consider it when we have company to share it with.

    I’m thinking about doing my two weeks of ironing today, but I’ve gotten so good at putting it off, I can only guess it might still be there tomorrow. I totally hear you on that front, there’s no time like the present to put off doing a chore. GUILTY! I think I excel at it actually.

    Loved “Red sky in the morning….sulking dogs”…LOL . That’s a twist that made me laugh as does your weekly posts.


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 03:29:32

      I don’t put on weight because I feed it all to “I AM ONLY ONE MAN!” Stevie-boy ;). At the moment I am baking my brains out because I can. Brunhilda allows me all of the free cooking time and heat that I want so I can get impulsive with my efforts and besides, nothing like baking to take procrastination to a whole new level 😉


  10. christiglover
    May 01, 2014 @ 06:05:27

    Oh, how lovely is Brunhilda and the dogs nosing in! Great photo. We here in Hawaii are on the cusp of Summer, but at the 19th parallel that isn’t very significant. We stay in the 60-80F degree range, but have the ever-changing weather (rain, sun, clouds in every day) to keep us interested. We’ll have a propane kitchen stove in the Hippie House, and the fridge will be electric (solar panels). The hot water will be propane, too. The lights and few appliances and computer will be electric (solar). I love imagining having NO electric bill – electricity in Hawaii (which amazingly is diesel generator powered) is sooooo expensive here. Best not to tie in at all.

    Cheers to crackers and cheese! Been eating a lot of those lately, with the papayas and bananas. And cheers to the Only One Man. You have accomplished soooo much, school project completed or not. Love you.


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 08:17:18

      Love you right back you tropical mama 🙂 Kudos on your being able to damn the man with your lack of diesel electricity and it will be amazing for you to dump that bill and obviously, if you have a water tank at your house you will be completely self sufficient with all of that delicious rain. I didn’t know that Hawaii never got hot? I just assumed that it would be hot and steamy in the summer like the tropics in Asia but even MORE wonderful that you won’t have to sweat your way through a drippy hot summer. Have you identified any edible species on your property yet? You will be able to grow yams and just about everything really easily as you will have year round growing conditions. You lucky buggers! 🙂 I will get to your blog post soon. I have been stuck at the beginning and the end of my RSS Feed Reader and you are smack bang in the middle 😉 Hugs from frigid Sidmouth where I had 3 layers on this morning when I was walking Earl and that STILL wasn’t enough 😉


  11. thecontentedcrafter
    May 01, 2014 @ 07:16:41

    I’m behind in my reading – you are further behind I know! Love the photo of Earl not going for a walk – guffawed!! I wish I had a Brunhilde – it is so cold here already and looking likely to set off into a long, hard winter! I recently moved all my furniture about, moved most of it back to where it was in the beginning and then moved it all somewhere else. All the time thinking to myself ‘I really must set to and make up those Organisers for the give-away…… There are still a few tweaks to be done to get as much comfort/breathing space as possible in this tiny house for the long cold….. but hey, it’s giving me a daily work out 🙂

    My kefir is coming up to speed – the milk is doing really well and has replaced my home made yoghurt completely; the water kefir is brewing up in a tasty/fizzy kind of manner this morning. Kombucha is served in a wine glass each evening for my enjoyment and I pretend it is a fine dun coloured wine and quaff it down happily 🙂

    I very much like Stevie-Boys hearts and I very much like Stevie-Boy’s spoon. It has been stirring a fair bit as I have made some tasty meals of late 🙂 Your give-away is sounding a bit like mine – on the never-never plan at the moment! I still have done no art! Can you believe it?

    Keep warm xoxo


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 08:27:15

      Yeah, I think between the two of us we have the South covered for procrastination ;). Good to hear that the kefir is coming up to speed. Now that it’s cold you can put it somewhere out of a draft to keep it warm. I have seen some people knit little wooly kefir jumpers for their jars to keep their brew in a good temperature range. How cold does it get where you are in NZ? Glad to see that you are enjoying your range of ferments. I really like booch plain. It’s really tasty when you boost it with a bit of fruit (sliced) or some ginger and cinnamon (in the finished brew) but I just like it plain and it reminds me of ginger beer even though there is no ginger in it. Hugs from here. HA on the giveaway…I have been rumbled, but unlike you, I have to galvanise Stevie-boy to get in the mood to whittle…You might be wondering why I am hugging everyone today…I NEED THE BODY WARMTH! 😉


      • thecontentedcrafter
        May 01, 2014 @ 08:40:42

        Right now the sun is shining and I have all the doors and windows open for an airing out but the air is chill! I have a feeling in my bones that we are in for a long cold one! Winters here in the almost-deep south are variable – sometimes we suffer icy frosts and days of only 1 or 2 degrees for what seems like months. Other times we barely leave the slightly cooler days of autumn and are back in an early summer. We haven’t had a really bad winter for a while so are probably due one. Alas!

        I put some nice new thermal coated roman blinds up in the living room and my bedroom and as a result am suffering the wet window syndrome which I hate!

        Does ‘booch’ refer to any and all fermented drinks or one in particular? My terminology has to be eddicated! My kombucha is just as it comes at the moment – and I as I am enjoying it see no reason to gussy it up. I have some water kefir ready for a taste which I put some grated ginger into at second ferment stage. And man those milk kefir grains just go ballistic don’t they? I think they have practically doubled in size already and are turning out a litre every two days – I can’t keep up!

        I might have to crochet little hats for my jars – when I finish my lush and gorgeous looking Bavarian Blanket 🙂

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 09:58:37

        Have you got a dehumidifyer? They are amazing things that suck the moisture out of the air and stop your windows (and everything else) from condensing up. We used to spend hours every day just mopping moisture up from windows, doors, ceilings! until we got the dehumidifier and don’t have to wipe anything now 🙂

        Booch is kom”buch”a only. Like nooch is the veganese for nutritional yeast cept the booch thing makes sense ;). You are right on the money about milk kefir. It goes ballistic. Check out online posts about how to turn it into cheese, like labnah, and preserve it in olive oil for a probiotic hit of tasty goodness 🙂

        Stevie-boy just found me wool for $1.60 a 100g ball so I might just make my precious fermented babies their very own woolly onsies ;). Have fun with that Bavarian blanket and make sure you show us some pickies when you finish it (so that I can be suitably jealous 😉 )

      • thecontentedcrafter
        May 01, 2014 @ 11:50:41

        I gave away my dehumidifier a while back as I didn’t need it here – the flat is so easy to keep warm and condensation has not been an issue. With these new fangled window coverings it has become an issue. They don’t tell you that at Briscoes!! I shall employ a cunning plan and see how I can resolve the problem without resorting to yet another machine in this tiny space!

        Stevie-Boy is a wunderkind!! You should probably keep him on. It’s not only wool at $1.60 per 100g; it’s more the fact that he even goes looking! Crikey, how much better can he get?

        Thanks for clarifying the terminology – I was guessing that but did need to be sure in order not to look a complete ninny…..

        I have been thinking about cheese – wondering if I can find me a recipe that doesn’t require a ton of new equipment or a degree in cheeseology to whip me up a batch of something resembling a feta 🙂 Haven’t found it yet, but I’m looking!

      • narf77
        May 01, 2014 @ 13:13:48

        Stevie-boy is, indeed, the bomb. He wanted to get me a present as we usually treat ourselves to something small each fortnight on the shopping and he braved going to a few different shops (including spotlight!) in order to find me wool that was both attractive (important) and cheap (more important) as he knows that something that is both attractive, functional AND cheap is going to make narf7 “SQUEE!” :). I will pass on your adoration to Stevie-boy who is currently applying his weights worth of waterproofing compound to some amazing water wicked garden beds that he created for a friends mum and who comes home tired but happy (and rubbery and black as it doesn’t wash off easily…lucky I have a bit of German in me and that sort of excites me 😉 ) and hopefully I can share a post all about what he is doing very soon. He has been taking photos so that I can share it all with you in the blog as most of you care about gardening and the environment and water wicked beds are amazing things. On the scale that he has designed these 2 HUGE beds he has to be very careful that there are no leaks at all as they are on the first floor of a building.

        Try getting some coffee filters and straining some thick kefir (drain off the whey) and making little kefir balls out of the resulting very thick (like Greek yoghurt) kefir. You can also make it into a most delicious icecream apparently. Rabid is making cheese at the moment and gets all of her info from the horses (Gav’s) mouth from here…

        He might be a good place to start 🙂

      • thecontentedcrafter
        May 01, 2014 @ 20:28:58

        Thanks for all that advice and the link natfie, I had a quick look and am now following – I’ll have a closer peruse tomorrow. It is all very exciting!
        I am looking forward to seeing your post about Stevie-Boy’s work – I am very interested in seeing what I can adapt for my own [teensy, tiny] garden next spring.

      • narf77
        May 02, 2014 @ 03:08:31

        I think the two garden beds that Stevie-boy is making would be about the size of your house by the sound of it. The poor guy rendered himself a rubber African American for a few days…I could almost shove him and he would bounce off the walls 😉 That site is the BOMB by the way. I love sharing good sites…sharing is caring :). Wicked garden beds are so full of possibilities. Bev introduced me to them and prior to that I had never heard of them. She also introduced me to hugelkultur garden beds. The lady is a fount/font (not sure which I am supposed to use and too lazy to look it up …you choose 😉 ) of excellent information.

  12. teawithhazel
    May 01, 2014 @ 08:09:02

    maybe i need to enrol in something..then i might do a bit of cleaning! by the way i’ve found bread making perfect for procrastinating..x


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 08:29:18

      Excellent! I am just about to rehydrate El Camino, my smuggled Spanish sourdough starter and galvanise him into helping me to perfect my sourdough. Not hard to perfect what I am doing at the moment (which is nothing) as ANYTHING would be better than what I had been baking ;). Nothing like throwing sourdough bread into the mix to deflate your ego 😉 I am hoping that El Camino might just be the pump that reinflates it 🙂


      • teawithhazel
        May 01, 2014 @ 14:31:05

        pray to st james..he’s the patron saint of spain and camino de santiago stuff..and maybe wear a scallop shell for good luck too..

      • narf77
        May 02, 2014 @ 03:05:44

        Excellent suggestions Jane… “camino de santiago” sounds a lot like “El camino” so that’s AOK by me! Not sure about the scallop shells but we do a good scallop here in Tassie so maybe the bloke that got Steve his abalone can get him a few scallops for scientific and religious purposes 😉

  13. Spy Garden
    May 01, 2014 @ 10:22:00

    I love the picture of you throwing your head back with glee! Mastering the art of procrastination is harder than people think, you do seem to have it down!


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 13:07:02

      I have been practicing for half a century…I figure I should be pretty good at it by now ;). That image wasn’t a selfie by the way…I HATE selfies! That image was a Stevie-boy original taken with a zoom in very low light conditions. It’s amazing he got a photo at all let alone crazy narf doing the happy “Brunhilda is ALIVE!” dance 😉


  14. foodnstuff
    May 01, 2014 @ 12:15:22

    Ooohhh!! Sao crackers. I’d forgotten them. So right for toasted snacks. On tomorrow’s shopping list 😉


    • narf77
      May 01, 2014 @ 13:05:41

      Glad to reacquaint you with an oldie but a goodie 🙂 Nothing like a sao to hold whatever you put on it. You could put just about anything on a sao and it would still be able to bear the load. Not like a lot of these new fangled “short” crackers that you can’t even slather with butter without them turning into shards of their former selves 🙂


  15. Joanna
    May 02, 2014 @ 18:48:43

    Brunhilda is alive!! ( I can hear this uttered in the tones of Gordon is alive ) thank goodness for that! Have you seen B B in Flash Gordon as the Bird Man. Completely wonderful crackers. Magnificent looking calzone there. We are now in the season of savage snails munching on tender greenery and there is greenery everywhere but still putting the heating on in the evening as it is chilly. I have read so much about mindfulness the last six months I am possibly going to be mindfully sick but that is ok because as long as one pays attention to the experience it will be just fine and it will come and go as clouds. Onwards onwards, ‘no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you…’ whether Pinterest, Twitter, blog chat, real people in front of you, dogs scrabbling up your trousers, onwards … xxxx


    • narf77
      May 03, 2014 @ 03:56:18

      Adored Brian Blessed in everything that he did especially Black Adder :). I think that mindfulness is just a way for people to try to tame their own savage beast and minimise the medication. Sounds like its “Trending” right now? ;). Don’t worry, it will be like veganism soon, on the back burner and the next latest greatest mental thing will be out. Don’t you hate it when people put something good in the spotlight and do it to death?

      I think that mindfulness is a way for some people to take stock of the beast that lays them low, face it, and find a way to if not tame it, at least recognise it and know how to deal with the worst of it. Sometimes that’s enough to give someone back a quality of life that might have been missing. It’s never a bad thing to face your demons

      I liked it because I am an anxious person. I tend to be stressed most of the time and tension is my middle name and although I don’t get depressed much, it’s a way for me to remember to slow myself down and to mellow out and to remind myself to live here and now and not spend all of my life planning out my future whilst not doing anything about the here and now. For me it works 🙂

      Onwards is inevitable. You can curl up in a little ball and refuse to face the world but it is always relentlessly moving forwards and onwards and carrying you with it. Social media has made it a lot easier to get up, get going and at least have some social contact even if you are a hermit ;). Hugs from frigid Sidmouth where Brunhilda just woke up and is hungry 🙂


  16. Joanna
    May 02, 2014 @ 18:49:28

    I think I need to have breakfast and get grounded, sorry about the above !


    • narf77
      May 03, 2014 @ 04:00:54

      Don’t worry about it. Unburdoning yourself to friends, albeit strange ones on the other side of the world, is cathartic. One man’s mindfulness is another man’s pain in the butt ;). Remember that book “Eat, pray, love?” everything is subjective and what makes sense and works for one person might be someone elses utter bollocks. I guess the combination of Ms Wax and her peculiar sense of manic humour and brutal honesty combined with this concept made it more interesting and I actually liked that it was free, proactive and something that you could do yourself, without having to take expensive lessons or pay through the nose and by the hour. Just simple things that make life a little bit clearer, cleaner and quieter and for that, I will try it. Hope your breakfast tasted lovely. Mine will, in about 4 hours. I have to vote today. SO tired of the same old candidates who just want to roger the state but gotta at least put my stamp on something out there. Wish me luck…I am going in! 🙂 Have a scrumptious day and get those wellies on regarding those snails. Too wet here for snail squishing but I have the duck at the ready to be launched at about 6.30 and she races out manically and scrunches her weights worth in no time. LOVE that duck 🙂


  17. Robbie
    May 03, 2014 @ 11:19:11

    You achieve so much in one day that I can’t imagine you doing that much more-lol. You are an amazing cook + all your baking just blows me away!!! My goal this summer is to learn to make a good 7 grain wheat bread. I found the 7 grain flour and it is NON GMO, so I had to purchase a large bag. I need to get busy making bread again. I did years ago before I had kids, but never found the time when they were around, so I need to get back to baking. Do you ever post your recipes-Calzone dough? That one looks amazing-would love to attemp to make some calzones one day:-)

    Oh, even us city folks that live near ravines know the “rodent” smell. Once you smell it you NEVER forget it! We have 3 cats, so when it gets cold outside the field mice try to sneak into our homes. The cats always kill the poor things and they never get further than the sliding porch door. Once they kill them they will leave them and if I don’t catch them well, you know the story! They usually crawl some place to die-yuck!!!.


    • narf77
      May 03, 2014 @ 11:30:19

      That calzone dough is the easiest peasiest recipe to make in the whole world. You get 8g of dried yeast (the instant kind), and a teaspoon of sugar (your choice) and add them to a cup of tepid water (not hot, not cold). Cover it with cling film until it fizzes up. Add this fizzed up yeasty goodness to 2 cups of plain strong white flour. I add about a tablespoon of dried Italian mixed herbs, about a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes and as much parmesan as you are game to add. I haven’t ever tried it with anything other than white but it is very forgiving and if you wanted to use wholewheat or multigrain I would just add a bit more lukewarm water if the mix was a bit stiff to compensate. Then add about 2 tbs of olive (or any other) oil and knead it all together until you get a nice soft dough. As I said, if you want to use another flour and it’s a bit stiff just add a bit more warm water to compensate at this point. After you get a nice soft dough grease your bowl (I use butter) and add the dough back into the bowl and grease the top (again, butter…) and cover with cling film. It depends on how warm you kitchen is as to how quickly this will prove. I put it over Brunhilda’s wafting gorgeous heat last night and it was ready to go in 30 minutes. It can take up to an hour and a half if your room is cool so I try to warm the bowl prior to putting the dough into it (not hot, just warm) and wrap it in a towel. This recipe makes 4 large calzones. One with salad would be a really good meal for most people but Steve likes just calzones and has 2 but tends to be fit to bursting after eating them both 😉

      You can put whatever you like in them. I have a search button on the blog now so just enter Calzone and see if you can find them. I would be interested to know.

      You can use this to make strombolis (rolled up pizzas like a jelly roll) or lovely crispy based pizzas as well. Very versatile dough indeed 🙂


      • Robbie
        May 03, 2014 @ 14:00:32

        The bag is sitting in the kitchen and I will be trying this next week!!! I am like the little engine that could…I think I can do this …I know I can do this…it will happen!!! I am copying your instrucitons and I want to try this for we love eating calzones!!!

      • narf77
        May 03, 2014 @ 14:12:15

        Seriously, this is the easiest pizza/stromboli/calzone dough that I have ever made. I have never had it fail me yet and Steve always raves about every single calzone that I make and it has now been instituted on friday nights as being “Calzone night” no substitutes 😉

  18. Robbie
    May 03, 2014 @ 14:05:54

    oh…I LOVE the hearts…very pretty!!


  19. brymnsons
    May 03, 2014 @ 20:05:59

    True Robbie, I have made this and it works! If I can do it you can 🙂


  20. cathyandchucky
    May 03, 2014 @ 22:21:24

    I can’t believe I missed this blog Fronkiii! I’ve been off WordPress for a couple of days more than I would have liked. Sorry 🙂 love it.


  21. Chica Andaluza
    May 04, 2014 @ 08:14:39

    Sorry I’m so late getting here – the “Spanishes” arrived today so we’ve been super busy working on building jobs and getting ready for their arrival. God I loved this post Brunhilda is up and running and baking is already in progress. Good luck with El Camino – I froze the rest of my starter and after about 4 feeds Moby Dick was up and running again so I hope it works for you. Loved that shot of the pups in front of Brunhilda – its chilly here today but it almost makes me wish for freezing cold!


  22. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    May 04, 2014 @ 10:44:39

    You are such a crafty one, you! I always have trouble with getting yeast doughs to rise in the winter, since my house is inexplicably frigid even with the heat cranked up. Next year, now I know there are ways around this dilemma… Although unfortunately, I may just need use your trick sooner, since it’s been a cold, dark spring so far. Regardless, it’s inspiring how you truly make the most of trusty old Brunhilda. I wish I had such a faithful cooking companion by my side in the kitchen!


  23. Angela @ Canned Time
    May 05, 2014 @ 11:29:40

    Oh so happy to finally have a picture tour of Brunhilda. Swear that I was going to request that very thing from you last week.
    And so sorry you’ve been ill ;( That’s the worst with weather turning cold. Chins up though…you’re not moving into sweltering heat and Washington humidity. Feel better yet? Probably not but I hope you can figure out your own way of getting better. Can’t keep a good woman down they say, so I’m sure you’ll be on the mend before you can read this meandering from me. Take care Girlfriend 😉


    • narf77
      May 06, 2014 @ 02:38:34

      I was actually better by the time I posted. Thats the thing about adding to posts prior to posting day ;). Yeah NOT sad I am missing out on sweltering heat and humidity, we get a few really hot days here but usually it’s not too bad in Tassie. The worst bit is it tends to be a very long very dry summer and that’s what takes it out of you the most. Hope your summer isn’t that bad this year. Our winter has started off like it means to do business I tell you! Its been cold and very wet but its been fantastic for the garden. Lots of tree planting about to take place 🙂 Glad you liked seeing Brunhilda. She hasn’t been off since. I have been really enjoying baking and cooking in and on her and just having a kettle on the side of her cooktop. Lovely primal stuff fire and warmth in the autumn/winter. Hope your spring is “springing” for you 🙂


  24. Born To Organize
    May 06, 2014 @ 10:59:46

    Sorry to hear you were under the weather. It is hard crawling out of a warm bed as well. I’m glad your stove is back in business.

    You’re amazing in the kitchen I see. My husband does most of our cooking. I just never developed the interest or the inclination, so lucky for me I married well. He hates gardening, so we’re a good team.

    Love your pooches, oodles and oodles.


    • narf77
      May 07, 2014 @ 03:13:53

      🙂 MUCH better now even though it is 0C here this morning. I just cranked Brunhilda up again and she boiled my kettle and I am just about to start my early morning beginnings. Welcome to Wednesday 🙂 I love to experiment with cooking but Steve is better than I am at making spongecakes, scones and his chilli is AMAZING. He is also our “soup dragon” and makes the very best soup. We are both gardeners and are just about to embark on planting out our little sapling nut trees and a couple of fig trees that I found on an old fig tree that had branches that ground rooted. Might even plant out my little olive tree as well ready for next summer. SO many things to do in autumn 🙂


      • Born To Organize
        May 10, 2014 @ 12:12:03

        Wow, Fran. That’s a lot of tree planting. Hard work, yes, but oh the rewards. The two of you clearly have amazing culinary skills, and different skills, too, which is a plus.

        I’m glad you are feeling better. Sorry to hear the cold weather descended. I’m so glad you have Brunhilda to warm you up and make tea at the same time. She’s a keeper.

      • narf77
        May 11, 2014 @ 10:58:07

        We love the cold weather, MUCH nicer than the long hot dry summer that we had and it is still enough of a novelty for us to be enjoying it 🙂

      • Born To Organize
        May 14, 2014 @ 10:23:58

        I hear that! We’re expecting 100F tomorrow. Ugh!!!!

      • narf77
        May 14, 2014 @ 11:43:39

        EWWWW! You have my deepest sympathy! 😦

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