Hercules and Sabrina in one day. Just another crazy week on Serendipity Farm  

Hi All,


This past week has seen me fast and furious on pumpkin futures and with still more pumpkins waiting to be processed. We have pumpkins on our barbecue and pumpkins in the laundry sink. Nuff said about pumpkins! I spent 2 days in slavetude to pumpkins and that’s enough for me for a week or so. I will deal with the rest of them in a much easier way thanks to Ms Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle who told me that you can just freeze pumpkin as is and it is perfectly fine when you thaw it…I love you Ms Wendy…your cheque is in the mail!


Pumpkin soup with pumpkin chunks (roasted) included (does that make them chumpkins?)


Quinces prior to them being grated (skin and all) down to the core in order to make quince wine

So that was 2 days of my life spent cutting, peeling and cooking pumpkin in various ways. I ended up making lots of most delicious jars of pumpkin and date butter which I have been using on my breakfast buckwheat porridge with great success. I also baked pumpkin in the oven without the lubrication of oil and it turned out to be a most dense product. I ended up throwing it into the vat of pumpkin soup that I also made in the vain hope that it might just soften up enough to become a little more edible than chewing on a log. It is in the freezer now, hiding its shame


Some grated quinces. This 20 litre container ended up full to the brim with grated quinces


The 20 litre (vat) stockpot of grated quinces needed to boil for 15 minutes and at the front you can see some brown sugar, butter, dried fruit and spices that I melted to make Steve some eccles cakes

I headed in to do our shopping at 5.30am on Saturday. Yes…5.30am. (“What kind of MORON does their shopping at 5.30am?!”…) I have a theory…my theory is this…if you head out at 5.30am and it takes you half an hour to get to the city, you can hit the shops at 6 for opening time, you can shop unhindered by other shoppers (aside from a few diehards like yourself who appear to have a secret handshake but I am not privy to that yet…maybe next fortnight…) you can get in, out, in, out (I go to several supermarkets in search of the elusive “special”) and by the time you finish the grocers, the hardware and any other specialty shop you desire will be open (9am is the magic hour here for said specialty shops). After that, you can zoom back down the west Tamar highway via your daughters if you need a chat, a cuppa or to drop something off, you can then pick up 3 large sacks of (swine!) chicken food and be home, all done and dusted by 10am. Works for me!


As part of one of our Design units we had to go to Wordle and create a wordle out of some text. Steve decided to try a new program called “Image Chef” that did the same thing as Wordle but MUCH more. You can create meme’s and insert your photos into some great templates to customise them and make yourself look very clever. Go take a look at Image Chef. You have to join it to save your work but it’s free to join so we did


Here’s another example of Stevie-boys handiwork…if you would like to check out what this website has to offer here is the link to the homepage…


I told Steve to have a sleep in and not to bother walking the dogs till I got back. We then headed out for our daily drag at 11am after I was fortified by tea and on the way back we saw Glad, our next door neighbour and her daughter Wendy having a confab on her front porch. I had been eyeing off the state of the oak leaf fallage on her front lawn and knowing that every year we have a storm that steals ALL of the oak leaves and deposits them in the Tamar River, out of reach but in sight (OH the ignominy!) and this year…this little black duck was NOT going to lost that opportunity to get herself some scrumptious leaves. Seeing Glad and Wendy spurred me (stupidly) up her steep driveway (covered with leaves) to ask her if I could rake them. They were both incredibly happy. I get the feeling that confab on the veranda was most probably a plan of attack for said leaves and may or may not have involved Wendy having to rake them all herself…either way the gratitude was palpable on both sides


What the ground looked like prior to me commencing raking on Sunday.


This was part of what I raked on Saturday just to give you an idea of the scope of the raking (this is just a small part of what I raked)

I headed home with Steve and the dogs; I drank a glass of water and headed back to what would be 2 days of raking leaves. We normally get the corner oak tree’s leaves that borders on our property and Glads but this year “the girls” were not so keen on raking them all themselves as they usually rake them, barrow them over to another part of the property and dump them to be burned (yes BURNED!) This year they decided that I was the lucky recipient of the rake that the gardener had left behind and would be wholeheartedly allowed to rake ALL of the leaves (aside from a few that fall on the garden beds and act as good mulch for our hot dry summers). Lucky me!


You can see what a lovely day it was on Sunday and you can also see that smart narf7 raked the leaves into piles


More piles of leaves nicely raked ready to be trundled off in our little trailer

The gardener had left that particular rake behind for a reason BUT I digress and I jump ahead in this fine story a little too far so remind me to tell you why in about another 2 paragraphs… Wendy grabbed the left-behind gardeners ENORMOUS leafage rake and I got our rectangular rake that dad had bought me (for some unknown reason) back in 2009 that was still in pristine condition due to my total lack of using it ;). We set to on the area at the very front of Glad’s house and when we had raked that Wendy (with obvious relief) headed off home for some lunch. I stayed…and raked…and raked…and RAKED…with the left-behind gardeners rake. I was there for 3 hours raking and we got 3 large trailer loads of leaves which Steve brought back up and dumped the first load over on a side lawn (who needs lawns?) and the second load in front of the house on top of the horse manure that we have been assimilating (like the Borg…the dung Borg…) so at 3pm I called it quits and dragged my tired self back home for a well-deserved cuppa and a rest


The left-behind rake and a clean raked area on Glad’s side and our leaf infested side on the other


Steve trundling off with a load of leaves

Our walk on Sunday morning we drove up to Rowella with the trailer on as Steve is a canny lad (that would be the gypsy bit coming out and reinforced my suspicion that his mum stole him from a gypsy camp when he was a baby…) and had decided to kill 2 birds with one stone aka “multitasking” something that narf7’s are not good at. We walked the dogs and then we drove up to our horse manure dealers house (surreptitiously, as you do, when you approach “dealers” of any kind) to see if he would use his tractor bucket to deposit a load of horse manure into said trailer. He was just on his way out with his horse so nope…Stevie-boy had to resort to shovelling with his compost rake BUT we did get a load. We will be heading back this weekend for about 5 more trailer loads to deposit on top of the leaves we just collected.


What the soil looks like underneath the oak leaves and a lot of it found it’s way over into the oak leaf basket on our side of the fence


Freshly raked and denuded of leaves

So we had a trailer of dung and we had a trailer load of leaves. 1 + 1 = a happy narf BUT a bit of a conundrum…we had at least another trailer or two of leaves coming back and leaves + dung = chicken invasion which coincidentally = a sad and angry narf. So what were we to do? Well I didn’t care as I was off at 11am down to rake more leaves…that was Stevie-boys problem along with chopping enough wood for the week. So I raked another 5 trailer loads of leaves and Stevie-boy kept driving down and depositing them in front of the house and we pathetically shovelled the 1 trailer load of horse manure on top of the mountainous pile in the vain hope that the chooks might miss (the equivalent of Mt. Everest) seeing the pile. Nope…they are canny too…apparently our chooks are gypsy as well 😦


I raked most of this area at the same time…


This is the after shot of that leaf filled image initially…minus the leaves


And this bit too…

So between shooing off the chooks and collecting more trailer loads of leaves Stevie-boy had his work cut out for him. He was joined by a totally knackered narf7 at 4pm and a teeteringly huge pile of leaves that reached the deck. We decided to cover them with a huge tarp that none of us can remember buying…ever… bits of roofing tin, chicken wire and anything else that we could find to try to prevent the chooks from doing their thang. I don’t know why we bother because chooks might be pretty dim-witted creatures but ours appear to be drawing on their velociraptor heritage and cunning as I noticed the first trailer load of leaves that had been covered with weldmesh, tarpaulins and chook wire has been tunnel mined into and dug out…mutter…mutter…mutter!


Looking back over the river minus leaves


An idea of just how beautiful the view is from Glad’s place

Anyhoo…back to the story. Oh yes…why did the gardener leave the rake behind? Because it regularly and painfully delivers splinters into the users hands THAT’S WHY! The rake itself is amazing. I was in love with its ability to just rake everything effortlessly and with quintessential ease. It seems to have balance and that huge rake base can grab just about anything and deposit it where you want it to go. It made a massive task (an acre of leaf raking) a much easier task for a 50 year old woman who hasn’t really done much physically in the last year and who REALLY appreciated those earlier years spent in the gym and muscle memory at the end of those 2 days. I surrendered that magnificent steed of a rake back to Glad, looking over my shoulder as I dragged my very tired, very sore derrière back home. Apparently Glad noted my obvious love for the gardeners left-behind rake and yesterday She phoned me up and told me that she had been to town with Wendy and they had bought me a ginormous brand spanking new leaf rake all of my own! I was dead chuffed! Even when I realised that they had an ulterior motive (noticed as soon as the rake was handed over the fence and Wendy said “you can have ALL of those leaves at the back of the house… 😉 ) I didn’t care. “Hercules” (for indeed, I shall be called upon to perform Herculean leaf raking events from now on…) has moved in to Serendipity Farm and aside from getting Steve to varnish his wooden handle, narf7 is replete with happiness for her new love


Should have done a panorama 😉

My niece Sabrina is staying with us for a couple of days as her boyfriend Ryan is competing in a Mixed Martial Arts fight in Launceston at the Albert Hall this Saturday Night. She tested Hercules and was amazed by his ability to rake. For a 23 year old girl to be amazed by anything that doesn’t involve iPhones, Apps, make-up and shopping you KNOW it is amazing :). Aside from wanting to record the latest “Game of Thrones” episode to watch at her leisure today, Sabrina has fitted in well with our lifestyle here on Serendipity Farm. I am tapping away here as she is still in bed at 8am but she IS on holiday and she can stay in bed as long as she likes 🙂 She has decided to either bravely, or stupidly (we both haven’t worked out which yet) volunteer to walk Earl this morning and I stupidly (I KNOW my outcome!) will be walking Bezial so when she does get up, shower, do whatever 23 year olds do to reboot themselves after a long nights sleep…we will be heading off and out the door. She wants to take photos of the Batman Bridge…it’s funny to a 23 year old you see “Batman” as in “Batman…nanananananana…Batman” so we will be trundling along at a high rate of knots behind 2 determined tanks in the direction of the Batman Bridge. I am going to take my camera as aside from a few tired shots of my leaf raking endeavours I don’t have much else to amuse your bouches today so here’s hoping there be fungus of many colours, that Earl and Bezial allow us to slow down somewhere before approaching Launceston on their mad pulling need to pee on every shrub on the journey and I can take a few wintery shots for you to see what Sidmouth looks like early winter. Its cold…it’s sunny…it’s lovely because everything is green all over again and it is COLD! (Did I mention that?)


Jerusalem artichokes that fell into my backpack on a recent walk…


This is to prove that we gave Sabrina something to drink and eat while she was here…note we encouraged her to mix her cough mixture with her alcohol…who needs sleeping tablets on Serendipity Farm? 😉

I have to pot up my purple sweet potato and a selection of Jerusalem artichokes that somehow found their way from the ground on the road verge into my backpack on a recent walk in Kayena today…I have to brave Sanctuary (my veggie garden) which is STILL GROWING MADLY in order to deposit 2 compost buckets worth of compost (I am attempting to appease the possum invaders and the rat overlords so they don’t eat what remains of my spinach). Weirdly, the rats/possums WHATEVER is eating my silverbeet are restricting themselves to a single bed of it. There are 3 other plants in the garden beds that are untouched. They have stripped the leaves from a single garden bed full of silverbeet…can anyone “Ploise asplain” that to me? Any seasoned gardeners with their fingers on the pulse of vegetable cultivation who can enlighten me will receive my eternal gratitude because curiosity didn’t only kill the cat!


We also fed Sabrina…can’t have her sucking down all of that booze and pseudoephidrine on an empty stomach now… (I feel the need to add a brief explanatory note here to stop everyone panicking…the last 2 captions were to make my sister spit wine at her iPhone whilst reading this blog post and in NO way echo what we encouraged Sabrina to actually do which was to drink responsibly and not drive…she did neither 😉 )



The pile of leaves after the chooks had been spreading the love around a bit

We have to design a fruit shop logo, a t-shirt to go with said fruit shop, a business card and a shop sign for our next design task. Sounds like fun to me :). I love it when we don’t have to research and we can just get creative. Pity I don’t have a lot of artistic flair and an even bigger pity that I don’t have bribe money to tempt my wonderfully creative blog followers ( you KNOW who you are! 😉 ) into doing it for me BUT ever the stoic (must be my German heritage) narf7 shall plod on with the task and no doubt I won’t be happy with what I produce at the end (I rarely am, mostly because I can’t draw like Leonardo Da Vinci…but whatchagonnadoeh?) but I WILL produce the work, it WILL be good enough and it WILL be on time.


And some more in the trailer


Sabrina holding up Hercules while Earl thinks she is about to give it to him as a treat. Note the sitting. You know when Earl is expecting something good, he sits 😉

I reckon that might be the omega of this blog post folks. I am sitting here contemplating what the heck I am going to cook for tea tonight. I already pulled the world famous calzones out of the bag yesterday and so that leaves me contemplating my food navel in order to please and delight my guest. Can’t have her going back home and saying “Aunty Fronkiii (My sister gave me the moniker “Fronkii” and when I hit 50 I gained another “i” by the time I hit 80 I will be Fronkiiiiii and will be rapidly approaching magnificence 😉 ) SUCKS at cooking” to my dear sister now can we?! I think we might make pies today. I will get Sabrina to help and will make some butter pastry, some rich meaty filling with veggies etc. and flaky puff pastry top. Who could resist pies when the weather is dropping down to 1C tonight and tomorrow it is apparently going to be raining? Isn’t life just 90% planning and 10% hurriedly running around like a chook with its head cut off panicking because your 90% planning was irrelevant and the world just bulldozed all of your plans into the ground in one fell swoop? 😉 Have a wonderful week folks. Wherever you are in the world I hope your week treats you well, that your loved ones give you at least 3 hugs and that something delights your sensibilities this week and you get to laugh and smile in the process. See you next week 🙂


52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thecontentedcrafter
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 19:07:32

    You raked half of Tasmania clear of leaves? Did you know there’s a rocket at the front of Glad’s place – are you Aussies sending a man to the moon? Earl sits? Meat pies, calzones – calzonii? – You’re on your way to magnificence? Girl – you are THERE!!

    I was exhausted by the time you had climbed the steep drive to Glad’s front door and you just kept going! Steve may well be driving around and even backing with a trailer on the back of the car, but YOU RAKED! Raking works on every muscle in the body – it is a well known complete body work-out and something that could well be done by Naomi thingy the super-model to stay toned and slim……..It’s a killer! Magnificence is already achieved Narfie – ACHIEVED!!

    Congrats to Sabrina for superb rake holding aloft 🙂 You were of course not at all surprised she spurned all your advice about not drinking too much and etc. We were all 23 once and had I been single and childless I am sure I would have been the same!

    Stevieboy is very clever on the computing side of things – I have no idea what it is he does or even why – but he is very good at it.

    But honestly – I can’t get over the fact that you raked Tasmania clear of leaves and Earl sits!

    Oh by the way – chooks are very clever I watched all those Australian ads and programmes to stop factory farming etc and they starred a hen who proved beyond all doubt that chooks are probably cleverer than some people we both may know.

    I’d quite like a chook to add to my growing menagerie 🙂

    I apologise for not mentioning the oil when advising you roast the pumpkin skin on – slight oversight 🙂

    Have a great rest of the week Fran, I still haven’t finished your organiser yet – but puppy is getting better and better about letting me work for uninterrupted periods, so it won’t be too far away . Your picture choice is making a pretty pinky-purpley coloured cover. Hope you like pinky-purpley??


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:41:20

      Love Pinky Purple, am racing about like a chook with my head cut off because Sabrina is staying with us till tomorrow, Stevie-boy is home, have been to the city twice in the last 2 days and I am a little bit out of my comfort zone but at least I have hercules to help me clean up the HUGE mess that the chooks made out of our enormous leaf and dung pile…I am contemplating serving Sabrina a chook dinner with oiled pumpkin! 😉 Take your time with the organiser. It’s too crazy around here at the moment to be organised and I think that Jan and Peter’s (her brothers) dreaded lurgy has managed to make its way through my defenses and narf7 is about to succumb with gusto :(.


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:18:48

        Oh I am sorry to hear that – but a good chance to rest up and when the worst has past meander around on pinterest and your reader whilst listening to Pandora Radio and playing sundry games – coughing pathetically with hand to brow and sighing in an agonised fashion from time to time lest Stevieboy think you are well enough to get out and wield that rake again!

        Sending you healthy bugs xoxo

      • narf77
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:43:21

        Just wondering how long I will be able to milk this cold? 😉 Seriously though I will hopefully only have it for a little while and then will bounce back to my usual glowing good health. Note to self “eat BUCKETS of vitamin C!” 🙂 Hugs from rainy Sidmouth but not close hugs as I don’t want you to catch it…who would stop Siddy then?!!! 😉

  2. cathyandchucky
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 20:46:11

    Hahaha yes you did make me sploo my theoretical drink at the screen dear magnificent Fronkiii! Thank you for caring for my youngest chickybabe on her holiday 🙂 me love you long time xoxox


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:42:31

      We talked Sabrina into staying with us tonight as well and not heading back to the girls place like she was going to as its a bit cold there and she was making alarming hacking wheezing sounds this morning and had been sick last night :(. Best she stays put and near the fire and ingests medication and hot soup methinks!


      • cathyandchucky
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:18:10

        Oh no! Thank you Fronkiii for looking after her 😦 she seems to get sick a lot.

      • narf77
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:41:51

        Sounds like she has been sick for about a month now and as her first night at the girls was a bit cold it just started her up again. We are watching her carefully. She had a reiching hot shower this morning with lots of steam to open up the airways as well as vicks and a vicks inhaler today on a mercy dash into town (to swap a video game but it was up there 😉 ) and after a nice lunch of Bacon, tomato and avocado sarnies she is reclining on the sofa in the lounge watching telly. Hasn’t coughed in a while so I think she might be feeling better 🙂

      • cathyandchucky
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:44:12

        Thank you so much Fronkiii. I don’t know if she had her flu shot this year or not.

      • narf77
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:46:02

        Yes she did and she reckons that this cold/flu came from it…

      • cathyandchucky
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:50:56

        Oh heck! She should have been given a sheet of paper with the batch number on it and she should contact the dept about it.

      • narf77
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:53:56

        Just read your gorgeous post and am going to give it a go here :). Lubbly jubbly cake 🙂 Sabrina is getting a homemade chicken pie for her tea with mashed spud, mashed pumpkin and peas and carrots for some vegetable goodness. Hopefully by tomorrow morning she will feel good as she is off into the city to pick up the boys and perambulate them back to wherever (dive) they are staying in the city for the next 2 days. I will make sure I tell her to rug up for you as she doesn’t wear much does she?!!! 😉

      • cathyandchucky
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 15:56:38

        No she doesn’t wear much. I reckon next time she comes she’ll actually listen to her mother about how cold it is over there ;). The cake was yummy too. Treacle worked really well and gave it a richer flavour.

      • narf77
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 18:02:54

        Sabrina says “I am wearing what I need to and it isn’t cold it is like the Sahara desert here the fire is SO hot” Ryan just called her a Sasquatch she is desolate

      • cathyandchucky
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 18:51:31

        Haha maybe wombat would fit better 😉

  3. brymnsons
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 21:00:05

    Wow Fran that was a mega raking episode! I just looked it up and 3hrs raking is about 3700kj burned! Phew. I remember those calzones, yum! It’s been cold over here too. The back lawn was pale green yesterday and today it is pale white. I hope it comes back… I need that pile of oak leaves. Just post them over for me will you. You can rake the back of Glads house for more leaves 🙂 x


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:44:48

      I just started twitching when I read that sending the leaves and me raking more bit ;). I raked for 3 hours saturday and 5 hours sunday. I guess that means I burned a few calories? But pity I just ate them all in one fell swoop ;). Looks like winter is going to be a cold one for us all by the sounds of it. It has been frosty around here but the veggie garden is still going mental and I am waiting for my yacon to die down to harvest it but it just seems to be growing more. I give in! 😉


      • brymnsons
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 21:14:54

        Hope the dreaded lurgy doesn’t last long 😦 x

      • narf77
        Jun 13, 2014 @ 16:33:43

        Me too! Sabrina just wafted her own version of the lurgy in our direction so we are bound to get one or other wog that ‘s going around but best over and done with it sooner rather than later (if we are going to get one) methinks 🙂

  4. Littlesundog
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 01:27:45

    I made this a fast and furious read this morning as I must head out to dig onions in not so great conditions. It must be done TODAY, as rain is coming AGAIN this evening… for several days.

    I must keep this photo of Earl in such a regal pose. Are you quite sure he doesn’t come from some show dog bloodline? HA ha!!

    All of that raking action wore me out. Honestly, you run circles around me Fran! No wonder you are always cooking and baking fab food and eating it. Burning all of those calories as you do, keeps a girl fit but working so hard and diligently requires a balanced diet too!

    I meant to ask you, do you have ticks in your area? We have them bad this year. I can’t tell you the number of them that FD has had to pull off of me (sometimes they’re in places one can’t get to by herself!). The mosquitoes are bad too right now with all of this rain. Just curious if you have varmint insects to deal with as we do.


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:46:57

      We have ticks AND leeches but we only get bush ticks, small things and rarely see them this far out on the river as they tend to hand around in bushland. The only thing that kept me raking was knowing that Glad was very happy for me to be doing it otherwise I would have bunked out ASAP. I stayed the distance for her and she was suitably happy that I did 🙂


  5. Angela @ Canned Time
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 01:38:09

    Wow that’s a lot of Chunkins! !
    In the US, if you’re a redneck, you pronounce it “pun’kyyin so they’d love your new word.
    Shopping at dawn goes right along w th my world. And it’s good to make those pups appreciation dedication to their bladders; )


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:48:05

      Pity I keep forgetting dedication to my own bladder that seems to be more bolshie than I am these days ;). I will patent that word now that I know it has Redneck appeal! 🙂


  6. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 05:34:43

    Lol, you had me feeling exhausted with all that raking too!! That was a big job and it looks like you have been super busy. And you are welcome 🙂 I hope the cheque’s a biggy ….enough to pay for new carpet at least!!


  7. Chica Andaluza
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 07:02:49

    Chumpkins – love it! And how much bloody raking was going on there?! You are a star woman! Could you not sad down the rake handle that gives you splinters so that Sabrina can help with the raking after dog walking and alcohol consumption?!


    • narf77
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 14:53:46

      Alas, the rake that Sabrina was holding was gifted to me AFTER the mammoth raking event thus there weren’t any leaves left. I raked an acre of oak leaves. There are 7 HUGE old oaks on Glad’s property as it used to be the church manse for the historic Auld Kirk Church, a convict built church that is right next door to our home (our property was 4 acres of the 10 acre packaged that once belonged to the church and Glads is the other 5 acres and the church is on an acre as well) The oaks are approximately 150 years old (most probably older) and as you can imagine they dump a LOT of leaves. Poor Sabrina has a terrible cold and looks like death warmed up in that picture. She had to bring her boyfriends clothes with her when she headed out here early (the heavier ones) and it has been so cold that she has been sleeping in them and thats what she is wearing in this image. She is a much more presentable young lady in reality. I had grabbed her for a photo as soon as she woke up (thus the “pyjama’s” 😉 ). I handed the splintery rake back to Glad to give back to the gardener (lazy bugger that he is) and will be making sure that Hercules doesn’t deliver a single splinter in what promises to be a most stellar career raking leaves for the foreseeable future 🙂


  8. teawithhazelteawithhazel
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 07:20:05

    sure you get free leaves but think of all the money you’re saving on gym membership and a personal trainer.. 🙂 x


  9. rabidlittlehippy
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 23:11:51

    Garden gloves with grippy palms my friend. I never go anywhere near the garden or its associated activities without them. 😉
    Since you’ve raked does it mean I can (finally) stop nagging you? Or shall I start up haranguing you to rake out the back now. Moments like these that those awful leave blower vacuum thingies look a lot less wanky hey. 😉 And mowing the leaves (and lawn) to much (and add nitrogenous grass) seems a good idea too. However, like you, I got stuck into raking the old fashioned way too and geez louise does it feel awesome to finish it, see the large expanse of clean green and feelthe ache of a job well done. 🙂 Even when you do have battle scars (aka splinters) to prove how hard you’ve worked.
    P.S. Grate a spud and put it on any splinters that won’t come out. Spuds have a drawing action and will help draw out toxins and splinters. 🙂


    • narf77
      Jun 13, 2014 @ 16:36:55

      I don’t have the minibug fear so just used my bare hands to scoop up the leaves and we actually have one of those vaccum thingies but I don’t fancy scooping the leaves out of the Tamar River, easier to rake them ;). It certainly did feel awesome to finish and limp back up the driveway to the relative safety (and leaf free vista) of Serendipity Farm. Now I just have to work out how to stop the chooks spreading all of our hoarded leaves from breakfast to kingdom come!


  10. Robbie
    Jun 14, 2014 @ 05:59:48

    purple sweet potatoes!! I am growing those this summer, purple passion:-) I am really exctied and I sure hope they work, but you never now…just had to mention that before I forgot to mention it in my comment-lol. You are a wonderful story teller and sometimes I get lost between the lines and have comments or questions I want to ask, but by the time I get ready to respond my mind goes blank. Part of crossing over the 50 bridge of life, it is excusable our minds are full!
    Reading your post, I felt EVERY” raking ache”s from all that work..my goodness, you must of raked for days to accomplish all that and what a great attitude you have helping your neighbors.. I get blisters if I don’t wear gloves, but I am not eager to rake leaves anytime soon! I am in the midst of cool, late spring/early summer weather and I can’t even find any brown for my compost pile! YIPEE!
    I had to chuckle when I read about “what to fix” the next night after you made your calzones, I am the same way. I have my signature recipes that I use for company which always work, but then if htey stay too long I am grasping for ideas:-) Yours sounded so amazing and ohhhhh, comfort food is my favorite thing about fall/winter. Summer I never want to eat those things, but by the end of fall and early winter I am eager to cook + eat the comfort foods….pumpkin seeds are yummy, too!
    Oh….almost forgot, I love shopping at 5:30 am! You are not crazy, I hate crowds and most of all shopping, so to get out early and get the job done, my goal! LEt me know if you ever learn the secret handshake:-)


    • narf77
      Jun 14, 2014 @ 06:09:01

      Yeah this year I turn 51 and so far bits of me haven’t dropped off (although I am SURE someone moved everything a bit too far away and it’s getting fuzzier…) so I am willing to carry on regardless ;). I am a prolific commenter (you may have noticed) and what I do, in order to stop my brain from saying “eh?” when I get to the end of a great post that I want to comment on is to open up a notepad document and just tap away while I am reading. Some interesting (usually random) thought pops into my head and “BAM!” I nail it to the notepad so I don’t forget and by the time I have finished the post I am usually pretty much sorted with my comment. Easy peasy fix and it also stops the problem of commenting in the comment box and losing your comment which REALLY used to grind me BIGTIME.

      I am most surprised that I wasn’t laid up for a week to be honest but the next day I was surprisingly spry and supple. I put it down to being a gym junkie back last century and once having “fit” as a job description where now you could probably sub that “i” for an “a” ;). I had a pair of homemade mitts on but that didn’t stop the rake from peppering me with splinters “OUCH!” that I still have some of today but whatchagonnadoeh? Needs must and all and I promised Glad that I would rake her leaves and a promise is a promise.

      I will be suruptitiously watching out of the corner of my eye as those furtive natives go about their early morning shopping business and I will learn the art of that secret handshake and then I am going to BLOW IT in a post…”yeah, you read that right secret handshake early morningers…BLOW IT! I am a quintessential blabbermouth 😉


  11. Susie Taylor aka Fefe Noir
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 02:38:49

    Very jealous of your incidental jerusalem artichokes! caribougrrl and I both giggling about you waiting for your niece to get up… very familiar to us.

    Also, I am totally behind you on the 5:30 am shopping trip… if we lived near a 24 grocery, we’d be doing the same thing. Anything to avoid lines and crowds.


    • narf77
      Jun 15, 2014 @ 06:39:09

      Good to see that there are fellow early risers around and Jerusalem artichokes are the easiest thing to grow (and pinch 😉 ). I guess it really depends on your growing conditions. Ours seem to be AOK for them to go mental.


  12. Margaret Griffin
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 22:26:27

    Hi Fran, Yipeeeee! ‘this little black duck’ and ‘running around like a chook with its head cut off’ in the one post – my cup runneth over.

    Eccles cakes – Steve is one lucky man.

    As for four and a half hours of shopping expedition -AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Hell, sheer hell. I am just grateful I can walk to the shops and do my shopping in much smaller chunks of time. Except for Wesley Hill Market, but a lot of my time there is spent chatting.

    So when will we learn about the success of the quince wine?


    • narf77
      Jun 16, 2014 @ 03:44:30

      It finally started to bubble so hopefully that means it is on it’s way to quincey happiness. Now it’s just a waiting game till it needs to be strained and bottled and Stevie-boy has a taste. I am with you on the shopping but as we live 50km away from the city we try to use the least amount of petrol that we have to and only shop once a fortnight. We have to make sure that we aren’t going to run out of things so we buy in bulk and that means a LARGE shop so that early morning shop, although a big pain in the derierre, is MUCH more efficient and painless if I head in at 5.30am. I am back by 10am and still have lots of time in the day to get other things done and dusted :). Wish we had a market around here that we could head to but alas, the closest thing to a “market” that we have is a few ladies that get together on a saturday in summer to sell a few veggies they grew from a basket or two…maybe next year I will set up my own basket (or two) and join them! 🙂 Have a lovely week in what “should” be lovely sunny weather over there. It’s 1C here this morning but should get up to 14C today and we have a promise of a bit of rain. Hopefully AFTER I walk Earl this morning so we can snuggle down and get comfy for our day indoors 🙂


  13. Spy Garden
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 09:29:21

    I love raking. Raking is highly underrated. Your food always sounds delicious. and “chumpkins” hahahahah


  14. Namita
    Jun 16, 2014 @ 13:36:28

    Hello Fran, I loved to read the link that you shared with us- Yes, Gandhi was a great man. He is aptly called the The Father of The Nation. His principles of frugal living have been inspiring generations. He always said “be the change you wish to see in the world” His autobiography “My Experiments With Truth” is a must read.I read the complete post and also the TED talk by Mark Boyle. I also enjoyed the imagechef link. I love your posts Fran…you always share so many interesting things besides your lovely life.
    Wish I could be there and help in raking leaves. They make such rich manure besides mulching. The river looks so magnificent. And yes send us some cool breeze please…..we are grappling with 42 degree!
    Love, Namita


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2014 @ 03:42:30

      When we lived in Western Australia, on the other side of the country, we often used to get 45C temperatures in the middle of summer. That’s partly why we jumped at moving to Tasmania in the first place where a 35C day is a hot one. Our chickens are attempting to distribute ALL of those leaves and that manure all over the place at the moment because the manure was full of worms so they are scritch-scratching as much as they can to get to them. I guess raking it back onto the heap is good exercise ;). We picked up a stack of old blueberry shrubs from a friend who is selling up and moving on the weekend and now I have to work out where to put them. I love looking at your beautiful images. They are so exotic and as someone who loves plants I love looking at the plants that you have in your garden and in your area as we just don’t get them here. It is 4C here at the moment and was 1C yesterday right up until 2pm! You are having heat waves and we are having freezing cold but then I guess that’s what the extremes of summer and winter are all about. Its the summer/winter solstice on the 21st so our weather will slowly change from then on…happy days! 🙂 Hugs from cold Sidmouth 🙂


  15. Sue Dreamwalker
    Jun 17, 2014 @ 05:27:46

    Oh my oh My!!.. just where do you get your energy from? and no don’t tell me because you make my efforts in our allotment part time…… 🙂 and I was just so tired looking at all those leaves you raked up, never mind actually moving them into a heap!..
    Loved reading through all your hard word,.. We haven’t any Pumpkins but we are trying a couple of butternut squash.. which are looking well so far..
    We got a blueberry bush last autumn and its got around a dozen fruits forming that I can see, They will go well with some icecream if nothing else 🙂

    I just loved all of your photo’s and I bet that alcohol and cough mixture worked a treat!..
    Enjoy your week… 🙂 and I am so pleased I dropped by, but phew, I am now exhausted! 🙂
    Take care.. xox


    • narf77
      Jun 17, 2014 @ 09:36:54

      Hi Sue, cheers for dropping by, sometimes I make my poor dear constant readers work for their fix don’t I? 😉 We hauled another 7 trailer loads of horse manure and got all of the blueberries over the weekend but still NO idea where we are going to actually plant them. Lucky they are deciduous at the moment and can handle being plonked into a pile of spent horse manure for the next week or so till I work out what to do with them. Butternut squash are delicious things. Have you thought of trying those little pumpkins? I think they are called sugar dumpling or something like that as they are deliciously sweet and only small with a similarly small vine unlike my pumpkins that definitely had a Napoleon complex ;). Hope you had a good rest after reading the post. It was a marathon this week but look at it this way, you MUST have lost about 1000 calories just reading it! 🙂


      • Sue Dreamwalker
        Jun 18, 2014 @ 01:34:30

        I am sure I did lose weight LOL… phew!!… you certain do not do things by halves!! .. No I haven’t grown the small ones.. My hubby usually gets given a couple of Large pumpkins and we use one for Halloween and scoop out .. Nice to know it freezes so well too 🙂 Brilliant…
        I have had a rest from the garden today, Ive been busy painting some things for a craft stall… You will get the gist if you read my last post, if not, I am just following a hunch of mine .. 🙂 and well, we will see how it goes.. 😀 xxx

        Don’t get buried in all that manure.. 🙂 I wouldnt want you growing 10 foot tall now.. LOL..
        xxx Sue

      • narf77
        Jun 18, 2014 @ 04:40:31

        Just replied on your blog and put you in my RSS Feed Reader. I thought you were already in there but now you most definitely ARE 🙂 I LOVE your artwork and can see you making a tidy profit when you display it and also love that the universe is coming to the party. Whenever I put something out there, I tend to get a reply, might not always be immediate but the universe has a way of delivering what you need when you NEED it rather than instantly 😉

  16. Sue Dreamwalker
    Jun 17, 2014 @ 05:28:42

    Hard work! lol… I’m the one having a hard time with ‘Words’ lol 🙂


  17. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Jun 17, 2014 @ 14:18:39

    Your posts delight my sensibilities, every time Tassie lady 🙂
    And totally agree about the shopping early, (and that goes with anything that’s a less than agreeable task to be done.) Just get it over and done with as soon as possible I say, then there is the rest of the whole day to play with.


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