For those of us left behind when friends move on

Hi All,

2 years ago we noticed a moving van backing up to one of the houses on one of our walks. When we were walking back we noticed a large Rottweiler standing on the deck and we christened the new neighbourhood dog “Thundercles”. Thundercles barked at us whenever we would walk past the house and our boys would eagerly jump up and down and greet Thundercles excitedly from the wings and even though we didn’t know Thundercle’s humans, we made a pact to always make sure that if we ever ran into them walking Thundercles that we would walk the other way or head up a driveway. Our boys plus Thundercles would probably be a disaster akin only to a major cyclone hitting the coast. We vowed to do our level best to maintain our distance from Thundercles…

"Thundercles" on "his" deck. I would bark as well if I was protecting a view like that ;)

“Thundercles” on “his” deck. I would bark as well if I was protecting a view like that 😉

Mieka :)

Mieka 🙂

And thus it went on. Occasionally we would see Thundercle’s and owners walking in the distance and we would hurriedly make plans for our escape. We weren’t the only ones. Obviously Thundercle’s owners were just as eager to maintain the distance/Status Quo, and we would catch glimpses of them high-tailing it up driveways, into the church and up side roads in order to let us pass. We did this for six months until one day it was just Earl and I walking and we ran into Thundercle’s and his female owner on a stretch of road where no-one could escape. What were we going to do? I called out that Earl was good with other dogs and Thundercle’s owner called back that maybe they should meet? I was a bit worried. Earl loves all dogs but Thundercle’s was doing cartwheels and I really didn’t know how this would go. I shouldn’t have worried. Earl sat down and ignored Thundercle’s efforts to engage him which calmed Thundercle’s down immensely and we decided to walk together back home…

The great and magestic Earl surveying his wood box. We have NO idea why, but sometimes Earl likes to get into the wood box and dig... we don't ask...

The great and magestic Earl surveying his wood box. We have NO idea why, but sometimes Earl likes to get into the wood box and dig… we don’t ask…

Jan gave us a small outdoor table and chairs that we now sit on our deck with and have our tea and coffee. Earl gave up on the woodbox and moved to higher ground.

Jan gave us a small outdoor table and chairs that we now sit on our deck with and have our tea and coffee. Earl gave up on the woodbox and moved to higher ground.

Thus began a most interesting relationship. We learned that Thundercle’s was a girl! Earl and Mieka became firm friends. She and Bezial were not as easy with each other but they did have their moments of happy frolicking and after a while we settled into walking three times a week (and more if we ran into each other) with Mieka and Jan. We eventually met Peter, Jan’s brother, and we all hit it off. We would drop back to Jan’s house for a cup of tea/coffee before heading back home and as we walked and sipped we learned about each other and a friendship blossomed.

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

Inherited furniture prior to moving it into the house

A 2 seater lounge as well as a 2 seater sofa bed and a treadmill for Earl's winter exercise (HA!) in the shed as they wouldn't fit in the house

A 2 seater lounge as well as a 2 seater sofa bed and a treadmill for Earl’s winter exercise (HA!) in the shed as they wouldn’t fit in the house

This week has seen us doing our best to help Jan and Peter pack up their lives and move from Tasmania back to N.S.W. The move to N.S.W. is only for 5 days however and is in order to deposit a shipping container load of “life” to a couple of storage units and then they are off to start a new life in Germany. Stevie-boy has played a big part in the moving bit and I have been keeping the home fires burning and cooking up a storm so that Jan didn’t have to worry about food in the mania that was packing. I hate packing up and moving on. Moving is in the top 5 stressful list, right after death of someone you love and divorce. I am inclined to agree and am quite sure that all of the moving that I did in my first marriage may just have contributed to that first divorce.

New 8 seater kitchen table that looks like it has always been in our house

New 8 seater kitchen table that looks like it has always been in our house

How many of us would be brave enough to pack up their lives into a few storage containers and head off into the great unknown in order to take a chance at a new life? I love my little patch of the world and am enjoying festooning it with narfish festoonings at the moment. Come Christmas this year and it will be positively festooned out the wazoo, but to grab my hat and coat, lock the front door and leave it all behind for a dream? Not sure I would be brave enough to do that. If it meant that I had to drop Bezial and Earl off to strangers I know that my initial bravery would crumble and die. Jan took a trip last week to meet the people that she is going to drop her gorgeous girl Mieka off to today when the ferry lands in Victoria. How brave do you have to be to leave someone behind?

I wonder when the monks are going to want their temple door back?

I wonder when the monks are going to want their temple door back?

Life is a series of choices and it’s our choices that make us who we are. Jan and Peter have had to make some serious choices in order to pursue their dream of starting a business in Germany. In the process they have had to pare away their past lives and give away a lot of their possessions in order to save money and make the process easier. We are not complaining because this process involved us absorbing the possessions that they had to shed. We now have a huge 8 seater table and chairs, a massive and most heavy Balinese coffee table that looks like monks sold off the monastery door after imbibing in too much of the happy juice once too often. We have delicious new bedside tables, lots of lamps, a treadmill for Earl to walk on in winter (HA!) and so much more. Steve’s shed is bursting at the seams with new/old tools and gardening equipment and my cleaning cupboard is about to explode. The fridge and freezer were bombarded and we won’t need to shop for a month. We could have started a second hand furniture shop with what we inherited and we are incredibly humbled and most grateful that Jan and Peter gave us what wouldn’t fit on their shipping container.

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

Our bed and the two bedside tables that we inherited

It got me to thinking about “moving” as more than just physical. 2 years ago, almost to the day of their move, Peter got divorced. The furniture that he gave us was tangled up with memories and now he is releasing those memories to the 4 winds in order to start out anew. We received little parcels of someone else’s life. Yesterday when we were unloading the trailer of “stuff” that they just couldn’t fit in the car, we inherited a tiny, ancient, German travel iron. I am guessing that it belonged to Jan’s mum. Our possessions reflect who we are. What we choose to keep reflects us more keenly and moving gives us a chance to re-evaluate and update ourselves accordingly. I can see why moving is numero “Tres” in the list of top stressors because it not only involves all of that hard work in packing up EVERYTHING and moving on, but it’s all those little things that accompany a move, changing addresses on all of your personal information, sorting everything out at both ends of the move from cutting ties at the first to sending out tendrils at the new.

Breakfast and coffee out on the deck on a gorgeous spring morning

Breakfast and coffee out on the deck on a gorgeous spring morning

Jan and Peter are being incredibly brave. We waved them off yesterday and they headed up to catch the ferry to head to the mainland. Peter had to sit in the back of the car covered in boxes and clothing that had to be crammed into the car. I dare say that small sedan weighs almost as much as a Mack truck there is so very much crammed into it. As I type this, they will probably be gearing up to land and start driving to take Mieka to her new home. I know that this will be the most stressful part of this whole move. Leaving someone behind, especially a most loved dog who adores you, is tantamount to losing a family member. Jan is doing the right thing by finding Mieka somewhere to live but in the process she has to lose her best friend. I, personally, couldn’t do it. I am NOT brave enough and my dreams are all simple and small and involve me and Stevie-boy and our 2 mutts tumbling around in various states of emotional tussles on this little patch of God’s own earth. To leave our dogs? Nope. Aint happening.

Look at my magnificent artichoke! It must be almost 10 feet tall and growing!

Look at my magnificent artichoke! It must be almost 10 feet tall and growing!

After Jan leaves Mieka at her new home it’s a 14 hour drive to a storage unit in order to meet the shipping container. They then have one and a half hours to unpack the storage container (which took Stevie-boy the whirlwind 2 days to pack) before it has to be removed. Any extra time taken means a most significant rise in the cost of the removal. Then they have 4 days to get the unit packed, sort out everything else that needs to be sorted and next week they are winging their way to Germany and their second winter of the year. We would have walked with Jan and Mieka today and our dogs will pull furiously towards their old home whenever we walk in that direction. We are heading to the beach today in order to avoid that tugging and those reminders that our friends are no longer there.

And I have artichoke futures! :)

And I have artichoke futures! 🙂

Social media means that we can keep in touch. We have “things” that we are attempting to sell on Gumtree for Jan and Peter. Things that would have had to be thrown out as they don’t know anyone else here in Tasmania (they lived here for 2 years). We hope we made the load of moving lighter with our efforts to help and we wish them a most wonderful new life with all the good fortune in the world. Did I mention that Jan is 63 and Peter is 53? Again I marvel at their tenacity to take a chance like this and uproot their lives to chase a dream when most of us “Middle agers” are digging in our heels and settling our roots for the long haul.

This is the main reason why we had to fully enclose our vegetable garden. This is my ex magnificent artichoke, snapped off at the base by possum invasion :( Sadness, thy name is narf :(

This is the main reason why we had to fully enclose our vegetable garden. This is my ex magnificent artichoke, snapped off at the base by possum invasion 😦 Sadness, thy name is narf 😦

These are wallabies. Big Wal and Little Wal according to Steve. They live on our property and the tyres protected my artichoke from their nibbling but couldn't protect it from the possums aerial activity.

These are wallabies. Big Wal and Little Wal according to Steve. They live on our property and the tyres protected my artichoke from their nibbling but couldn’t protect it from the possums aerial activity.

I have bruises on my hips from banging into the new dining table in the dark. I am not used to navigating its girth in my early morning narf hikes to the kitchen. I have a bruise on my shin from the new coffee table and my first up visit to pat a snoozing Bezial on the couch. He sleeps in the lounge room, doing his duty as night time watchman. Earl takes up in the day, Bezial takes the night. We are protected 24/7. Most of the time Bezial toddles off to take up my warm spot offering in our bed when I get up. Not today. Too much happened yesterday and he is playing his cards close to his chest and beady eyes are watching me surreptitiously from the couch as I type in the dark on a Wednesday morning. Moving affects so many things including friends you leave behind. Bezial and Earl are going to miss their friend Mieka. She is the only dog that they regularly play with and walk with three times a week. Now it is just us, and them. I am hoping we are enough.

Steve's pizza he arrived back home to eat at 8pm after spending a full day last week packing the shipping container. He had already delivered Jan and Peter's bigger pizza. I also cooked a huge quiche but forgot to take any photos. They were most appreciated

Steve’s pizza he arrived back home to eat at 8pm after spending a full day last week packing the shipping container. He had already delivered Jan and Peter’s bigger pizza. I also cooked a huge quiche but forgot to take any photos. They were most appreciated

When friends move away it leaves an empty spot. Where habit and lifestyles collide a new routine needs to be created. We can walk further afield now. Jan didn’t like walking Mieka on busy roads. Our boys are used to trucks and cars and city walking and so we can now change our modus operandi to incorporate new walks. Our boys are always up for new walks. Not so sure that “I” am up for their enthusiastic enjoyment of new walks, but like most things in life I try to look for the silver lining and I am calling this “my new gym workout”. Forget personal trainers, Earl is the toughest personal trainer around. I mean, who else would push a 51 year old woman to run down a 45 degree slope backwards, jump over a metre high fence, somersault upside down in mid run and hop and jump up and down maniacally in order to avoid colliding with rocks and low shrubs? If I wasn’t so exhausted at the end of every walk I would probably feel the need to pay him for increasing my fitness.

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

A most freaky sunburst on a very overcast day.

The freaky sunburst (no sun visible) and a rainbow. VERY strange light.

The freaky sunburst (no sun visible) and a rainbow. VERY strange light.

We meet people in our lives in order to change our point of view, to learn from them, to grow and to teach us how to share our lives and our hopes and dreams. When they leave it makes us think about our own priorities and hopes and dreams and we can clarify who and what we are in comparison. We are both very glad that Earl and Thundercles met way back last year and that we forged our friendship with Peter and Jan through our dogs. You just never know where life will take you if you take a chance…

Whenever someone goes away, we head to the sea.  The sea is a very soothing place to be apart from for Earl, who slipped off the jetty and ended up swimming for his life ;)

Whenever someone goes away, we head to the sea. The sea is a very soothing place to be apart from for Earl, who slipped off the jetty and ended up swimming for his life 😉

This is the jetty that Earl slid in the algae and dove gracefully into the briny sea. I had to haul him out as he dogpaddled furiously. Earl doesn't like getting wet. Earl got VERY wet ;)

This is the jetty that Earl slid in the algae and dove gracefully into the briny sea. I had to haul him out as he dogpaddled furiously. Earl doesn’t like getting wet. Earl got VERY wet 😉

Update: We got a text at 11am from Jan saying that Mieka is now living in Victoria and went to work with her new owner this morning. We are very glad that her meeting with her new family and 2 blue heeler brothers went well.


Friends :)

Friends 🙂


66 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. christiglover
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 14:37:19

    Oh, such a lovely tribute and trip through the grieving process. Thank you, Fran! I have experienced so much of this this year, the comings and goings of heart friends and heart animals, it’s enough to make me memorize a poem. A couple of lines of which I’ll type out for you here, and as I type, I’ll think of you and your beloved Steve and Earl and Bezial as you carry on 🙂 “Oh, I have made myself a tribe of my true affections and my tribe is scattered! How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses? In a rising wind, the manic dust of my friends, those who fell along the way, bitterly stings my face. Yet I turn, I turn, exalting somewhat, with my will in tact to go where it needs to go, and every stone on the road precious to me.” Love the photos and how you’re grouping them. Hugs all the way from Hawaii. xxo


    • narf77
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 17:23:26

      I love your poem Christ and thank you for your kind words. We are not really grieving our friends but more grieving the change that them leaving brings to us. I think sometimes people are put into your life to help you to learn how to accept them leaving. I am honoured to be part of your tribe and love reading about your adventures in Hawaii. It must feel surreal sometimes 🙂


  2. thecontentedcrafter
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 15:20:56

    Oh dear Fran – I feel for you. I know this well – the leaving. Usually it was me doing that, still painful though. Like you I cannot imagine leaving one of my boys – the thing they are leaving for must have a strong pull on them I think. And then, as I read on, the thing that shocked me most was the age of these friends of yours. All the way through i pictured them as young – maybe in their forties at the most, young go-getters, still following their dreams, still believing the best is yet to be. But 63 and 53! Wow, wow, wow! That is brave. That is following a dream that won’t be let go of. That is heroism!! After 50 it’s all about putting down those roots as deep as they will grow, finding a place to be that will support a quieter life, a peaceful life; a bed that is always the same and knows your body well – a routine that feeds the soul while it releases the need for new adventures …….. To leave it all behind, to give up new friends and a beloved pet – that is hard, that is brave and that is 100% trusting in their destiny! These friends of yours are suddenly my new heroes. I do hope all goes well for them.

    On an up note you did well scoring some lovely new furniture – which will help ensure you guys are going nowhere for the rest of your lives. Your doggies will be happy about that!

    Siddy offers to come across on Earls ‘rarf’ and be their new friend if they want. Orlando would push the rarf out to sea quite happily today I think!


    • narf77
      Oct 22, 2014 @ 17:27:04

      Earl is sulking today. He fell in the river and had to swim his way back out and all because he absolutely positively HAD to check out a slippery rock that I was trying to haul him back from. Hopefully a life lesson learnt and I don’t think that Earl would meet Siddy on his rarf as he is a bit tentative about the water at the moment…I was pretty amazed when Jan and Peter told me about their plans. To throw everything in the air in order to take a chance on a dream is more than brave. Some would say foolhardy but I am, like you, in awe of their bravery. I know that I am nowhere near that brave. I applaud them and their desire to catch the wind in their sails and head out on a big new adventure. I think I will just watch them from the shore…


      • thecontentedcrafter
        Oct 22, 2014 @ 17:33:31

        I think it is an excellent idea – elderly folk going off on big adventures must have a horde of folk standing on the shore applauding – I join you 🙂

        I forgot to say too bad re Earl in the water. I have to haul Siddy back from the river bank as I know if he were leadless he would do one of his cute flying jumps and go splash – that would be the end of Siddy because I’m not getting into that cold wet stuff to try and save his sorry cute ass! I’ll tell him to shelve the rarf idea for now then.

      • narf77
        Oct 22, 2014 @ 18:18:48

        Earl isn’t a great fan of water so this was as big a surprise for him as it was for me. He looked like the QE2 gliding into the water after being tapped on the derriere by a magnum of champagne 😉

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Oct 22, 2014 @ 18:34:30


  3. quarteracrelifestyle
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 18:21:51

    Aw, you will really miss them Fran, and the dogs will miss their mate. That is a brave move to make at their age. I am with you, I hate moving with a passion. I did it so many times and had it all down pat but done once too often I think. I am sorry you are losing neighbours but nice to know they will still be good friends no matter where in the world they are.
    On the plus side you have inherited some very nice furniture and bits!
    Bugger about the artichoke, you would’ve been gutted.


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:22:34

      I was SO proud of that artichoke. Possums are spirit breakers. I think I might have to expand Sanctuary but don’t tell Steve that yet as he might start twitching ;). We got a photo sent of Mieka with her 2 new brothers (blue heelers) and she looked incredibly happy. We are hoping that she fits in and loves her new home 🙂


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 05:35:41

        Yes I can imagine they are spirit breakers, they seem like little gremlins who come to deliberately wreck havoc for the humans. Good luck with those plans for extending 🙂

        She will love it with two other dogs to play with all day, every day. My sons dog was part blue heeler and she was a real character.

      • narf77
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 05:44:32

        They are larrikins just like Earl, so she will certainly feel at home there ;). I am thinking about dressing up like a HUGE possum and wandering around at night with a torch. Give them a taste of their own medicine and go down in possum legend as “The GREAT possum” who was MOST displeased 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 06:03:41

        Lol, do get Steve to take photos!

      • narf77
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 06:06:44

        I will! 😉

  4. The Snail of Happiness
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 18:24:24

    Lovely post… I do hope Jan and Peter have a wonderful life in Germany.
    Dogs introduce us to all sorts of people: I met Mr Snail when he was walking his dog and I was walking my (then) boyfriend’s dog!! Ahem.


  5. cathyandchucky
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 21:14:25

    You know Fronkiii, you had to grab that dream of a better life when you all moved over to Tasmania years ago. I felt(still do actually) really sad when you left and still miss you to this day. Just like you do over Jan, Peter and Meika. Your right when you say that packing up and moving is right up there in the stress stakes. You know what I’m like with packing anything! Those are lovely pieces of furniture too 😄 A thunder and lightning storm are rolling there way over our heads as I type this tonight. I hope it leaves the poor farmers just about to harvest crops alone. Xoxoxox


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:26:01

      I think I need a good storm today. The wind chimes are dingling outside and Brunhilda is down to her last few logs before she gets a long sleep for the summer season. I think I just hit my “equinox” and need to redirect myself and my efforts accordingly. A good storm would be wonderful. We haven’t had one for a long time :). I miss you too Pinky and our morning cuppa’s and how easy it was to just share everything with someone who just “knows” you inside out. Thank goodness for emails and social media eh? 🙂


      • cathyandchucky
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 10:21:57

        Yeah Fronkiii. Emails and social media will suffice till we can get together 😄 Beware this thunderstorm! It was lightning-ing all night and thundering with huge heavy downpours all night. Not a lot of sleep got at all. Had to pull out the plug to the modem for the night as thats always the first thing to go with a lightning strike 😁

      • narf77
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 16:59:02

        Bring it ON! We haven’t had a good storm all winter. It has been very mild here and I seriously doubt that we will get your amazing electrical storm. I recon it will hit Melbourne before it hits us. Oh well…at least we should get the associated rain and it might fill up my 2 water barrels that we hooked up to the shed roof (next door to Sanctuary) at the end of the rainy season (as you do 😉 ). My mantra for the new year…”always look for the silver lining!” I am practicing (with gritted teeth 😉 )

  6. Old Fart
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 22:03:09

    What a coincidence…I am growing 5 artichoke plants also…At first I got confused, thinking I planted Tistle 😀 …Almost ready to kill them but let them live and see what it was…Indeed were NOT tistle, thank god 4 it.
    Cheers and have fun 😉


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:27:54

      I hope you don’t have possum invasions like I did. I have some teeny tiny little purple artichoke seedlings growing at the moment and am going to plant them INSIDE the dogs new yard and lets just see if possums have time to frolic in them when Earl is on the case! Good luck with your artichokes. They grow like thistles, they love rubbish soil, they will grow with no water and they are awesome plants when they flower. Huge big beautiful plant “statements” with food bonuses 🙂


      • Old Fart
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 13:13:52

        Oh yes, I love theirs flowers, resemble the Waratahs and I love my artichokes just boiled in salt ( mediterranean style ) best way and, …The only way to enjoy them and theirs flavour ….This year I will leave few in flower and get the best seeds….Possums ???….Lots here but mostly in the scrub and trees out on the paddock not in town….My cottage in town is all fenced ….That’s were I keep the best of all things in the garden…My whole backyard has no lawn at all…It is all plots & quartz gravel pathways, some for this or that, pipes & pumps, 5 big water tanks, 2 solar, one off the grid and the other one connected to greed, shade house, winter house, you name it is there … 😀 This year I intend to grow Raspberries, Ginseng & Dwarf Blueberry bushes from seeds….Difficult but not impossible
        Cheers 😉

      • narf77
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 17:01:57

        I was given red and yellow raspberries by a good friend as her single yellow raspberry plant that she bought last year went mental and spread like Topsy so she has a lot spare to share. I also got blueberries from another friend and hope that they fruit this year as they don’t like being transplanted apparently. I wish I had 5 big water tanks. I am envious! 😉 I want to save up for a wind turbine but as penniless student hippies, we have to count our pennies carefully and not a lot is spare to save. One day I am sure we will get the opportunity to do it but not just yet 🙂 Good luck with all of your plans and cheers for sharing about how to make those frosted flowers by the way, excellent post. I pinned it on Pinterest 🙂

  7. brymnsons
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 22:15:22

    Always hard to say goodbye to friends. Hope the future is filled with silver linings for those most adventurous of people, they sure deserve some. I would die if I had to give up my dogs, plain and simple. What a baptism of fire for them. You will miss your morning preambles, I’m sure. They have truly wonderful friends in you two x


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:33:22

      Jan just sent us a picture of Mieka with her 2 new brothers (blue heelers) and she looks really happy. She has apparently discovered that electric fences are NOT fun and is steering clear of the cows on her new farm property. Her new owners say that she is still VERY interested in the chooks but that is to be expected ;). I hope Jan and Peter are able to move to Germany without a hitch and that their new life is fulfilling and right for them. Now I need to get back into that garden! 😉


      • brymnsons
        Oct 23, 2014 @ 20:41:13

        Good to hear that Meika has a nice dog family 😃. I bet she learnt about that electrical fence quick smart lol. Just as well she isn’t a boy and peed on it, yikes!!

      • narf77
        Oct 24, 2014 @ 03:51:43

        I think she (apparently) had headed off to take a closer look at “cows” and she now has NO interest in cows whatsoever ;). If it was Earl he would keep peeing on the electric fence till he shorted it out. He is bolshie like that 😉

  8. Littlesundog
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 01:06:18

    Goodness! I just read another blog,, about a friend who is moving and transitioning to a new life. There is always a bit of sadness that accompanies a move, but also great courage and bravery to venture on to another adventure in life. What a lovely gift your friends left you (items you could use in your home)… and what a gift you provided to them to be nurtured (your meals to feed everyone) and physical help (Steve helping pack and move).

    I love that “friends” shot at the end. Isn’t that the loveliest thing in life? Friends all over the world… who love and support us, no matter where we are planted. I’m happy to call you friend, Fran. And though our blog sites are where we meet each week, I do hope one day FD and I can manage a trip to visit you!


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:38:37

      I think the best friends are those that find you no matter what and like Ms Snail said, she met her partner when they were walking their dogs (even though the dog that she was walking WAS her boyfriends 😉 ). You can’t ever predict friendships and they tend to sneak up on you and move on when you least expect it. Steve and I took the dogs to the beach yesterday and enjoyed a good walk with them in the sunshine. We can now transition to walking where we want to walk with the dogs and a new phase begins. It’s that life cycle thing all over again. People move into your life, people move out and you adapt. It must be starting to get cooler in Oklahoma now? Seasons slowing and everything gearing up for the winter ahead. We are the opposite. Everything is revving up and there is SO much to do here. I won’t have time to miss routines and friends as my garden is telling me, in no uncertain terms, that if I don’t get out there it is going to sort itself out and will be decorating itself in this seasons accessories of boneseed yellow, blackberry purple and forget-me-not blue 😉


  9. rabidlittlehippy
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 08:48:57

    Farewelling friends is never easy. I still remember many farewells of friends back to England. Poor Mieke and the boys too. I am glad to hear Thundercles is settling into her new family and I hope the boys are feeling more settled now that the furniture shifting and uncertainty I know they too must have sensed and felt will be easing.
    Plant a tree in honour of the friendship. Earl can pee on it (which I am sure will make him feel better 😉 ) and Bezial can sleep underneath in the shade (uphill of the pee) and when it flowers you and Steve can see and remember the friendship that blossomed between the 7 of you whilst they were here. 🙂


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 16:47:49

      That’s a great idea. I have been busy in the garden all day and am just about to plant out an apple tree (inside Sanctuary) and 3 loquat trees outside but inside our new back yard compound area where they will be safe from wallabies. I am in the process of getting out into the garden and working hard in order to focus my new direction and get back on track with my ideas and ideals I will be back soon.


  10. Robbie
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 09:46:03

    I always feel it is harder on the one left behind than the one that leaves. I have had friends move away but when my daughter left for UK in 2010 ( she lived in Germany before),was the worst for me. I held it together until she was on the plane..I cried to the car and the entire day! I knew I would not see often and last Monday she moved to Sweden + is pregnant again. I hope to go see her next year but know, it will never be easy. Our visits will continue to be difficult but she is happy so that is what I need to focus on. It is her life.
    When I was younger, I loved to move:-) I have changed. I am too planted!Shoot,I have grown roots + they have become invasive-lol…
    I never planned on staying here “forever”when we moved here in 1982 We never left. I always wanted to move in my 30’s but jobs were always here + kids had friends etc. Life moved on and it never happened…I wish it would of back then when I was younger. The thought of moving “all” our stuff ,making decisions about what to take or leave would give me panic attacks NOW at this stage in my life!
    Shoot moving across town, after living in another home for 11 years was “stressful” enough in 1999. If I could afford someone else to go through ALL my stuff , sell it + not let me know what they sold etc..I might be able to do it. I am just not good at making decisions since I became middle-aged. How did that happen?. When I was younger, I had “white-line Fever” in my veins. I loved to move!
    As I read your story,I felt your story was mine, I see others leave right now + I am happy to be planted…I don’t want to move. I enjoy my familiar life + my garden is part of me now:-) I hate that empty feeling when you are the one left behind. The things you use to do are still there but the people are gone. Routine is changed. I am like the dogs, I would forget and show up:-)I am such a creature of habit in my 50’s.
    To move to another country -wow-I don’t know about that + leave your dog. I have always worked my schedule around my dogs. Making sure they were not home alone too long-lol..
    I love he furniture you got + your food is amazing as usual! Where you live looks like paradise from your photos:-) amazing beauty around you!


    • narf77
      Oct 23, 2014 @ 16:56:48

      Thank you for this lovely comment Robbie. You are so right about the ones left behind feeling a bit flat and empty. That’s how we have been feeling but our studies have returned with a vengeance and we need to finish off the year as well as the garden that keeps asking me to sort things out. Today I wheelbarrowed a large pile of horse manure and lots of earthworms into Sanctuary via Stevie-boys new pathway (heavy hard work!) and then closed that door and released the hounds and headed out the gate (on my own with a wheelbarrow and shovel) to collect a large pile of wet oak leaves to add to the mix via our new door in the side of the shed. It was a brilliant idea (Stevie-boys) to cut that doorway and put doors in as we can have Sanctuary’s door shut so the dogs can’t get in but we can still get in through the shed from the outside. I hurled leaves with crazy abandon. I got bitten by an ant and marvelled at how little pain I felt compared to Steve who complained for 3 days after he was bitten by the same kind of ant. I am thinking that women who have given birth have higher pain thresh holds than men…might be a thesus in that one! ;). I then made piles of manure all over the place, topped them with oak leaves and tomorrow, when I get a bit of energy back, I am going to wheelbarrow a stack of chook poo rich straw into Sanctuary and am going to move 3 trailer loads of horse manure and oak leaves from under the deck and into Sanctuary to make a new big garden bed. I have to dig a hole (wince) to plant an apple tree and dig 3 more holes to plant 3 loquat trees (Eriobotrya japonica) inside the compound. I have a LOT of work to do as well as planting out 10 more large trays of veggie seeds and that’s just “inside” the compound. Outside needs some serious work. We have to whipper snip the entire back block to reduce fire potential for our coming dry season and whipper snip the mountain of forget me nots that have taken up residence with glee since we ran out of time to slice them off at the knees earlier in the season. SO much work but at least I sleep well when I do it 😉


      • Robbie
        Oct 24, 2014 @ 00:18:14

        Boy, you will sleep well…you will collapse into the bed! I love that feeling from working hard. It is better than any gym workout a person could do. I have found, I don’t need a “gym membership” to get a workout:-) Can’t afford one-lol
        Your space is a lot larger than mine and I don’t wheel manure. That would be darn heavy work!
        We purchased a grinder this fall + will be making our own mulch. We will cover all the beds for winter. We do that together since it takes two of us. I collect and my husband feeds it in the machine. Well, we both do but it goes quicker if we do it together. I am not too much for working machines.I hate loud noises! I have been cutting it up for ages + look forward to making our own mulch. I find it too expensive at the store. They want 3-5 dollars a bag + we need MANY bags, so we will save money in the long run. We use to do it with our lawn mower but we could not cut up sticks. I was composting them behind the evergreens and that is where I get some of my soil later in the season.
        Gardening is an adventure + solving problems to make it work more efficiently in the garden is rewarding.
        Doors + Paths created for efficient work is exciting-lol Isn’t it funny how things like that make work a pleasure:-)
        My dogs are on a chain up near the house. They are allowed to run free, if we are in the yard outside. My pit bulls can jump from a standing position over the fence in a second! I only have one pit bull now-Chance. He is such a good boy and never cares to explore outside the yard. He was raised by our old german shepard-husky mix when he was a puppy. He learned from him all his good habits + his bad habits. Buddy passed away in 2009 and he was the perfect alpha dog. He was a great leader of the pack. We had 5 dogs when the kids were all home , I have no idea how I ever kept it together. Now we have Chance + Punk. Punk is on so much pain medicine ( 141/2 ) for her osteoarthritis. Schatze our other pit bull passed away late June this year. One day she was here + the same day she was gone..the cancer was all over her body. She was my jumper that loved to visit other neighbor dogs….I loved reading your story about the dog buddies:-)
        I will always have a dog , I can’t imagine not….how neat you made a special place for them to hang out…you must be having a great summer with all the new spaces created..
        + after I sent my message off to you about being the one that leaves vs the one that stays…the one that stays have the “memories” and they are all around you! When a person leaves everything is “new where they are going- no memories.. it sucks to be the one left behind. It takes longer to grieve the loss:-( But new routine starts in + we do make new friends-doggy or human:-)

      • narf77
        Oct 24, 2014 @ 04:07:05

        What with the garden AND my early morning “gym workout” with Earl, where I am put through my boot camp paces in short shift, I certainly don’t need to pay anyone to prod me and make me go faster. Being on a long stretchy lead behind a most determined mutt certainly makes you realise that you had muscles that you didn’t previously know existed ;). Everything on our property is either “uphill” or “downhill” and I would like to know why every time the wheelbarrow load is heavy, it always has to be delivered uphill! 😉

        We had a mulcher that we bought but it was a small electric one and it kept blocking up with the load. In the end it blocked up one final time and we decided to “donate” it to the rubbish tip shop. We need a petrol model but even that would struggle with the load of green waste that we can generate at any given time. What we ideally need is one of those BIG mulchers that tree pruning companies have but there aren’t any to hire in Tassie so we make do with creating huge piles of debris that make us look like we are arsonists, allowing the leaves to rot off and then attempting to chop it all up. We found out about hugelkultur and it’s a great way to deal with logs and branches and we might just “hugel” all of the ancient piles that are littered around the property. Hopefully whatever is living in them isn’t bigger than spiders! 😉

        Earl is much more balanced now that he had enough space to wander around. He isn’t a jumper and prefers to squeeze out using his great big wedged head as a tool to help him. In saying that, we made sure that the fences were tall enough to dissuade him in case he suddenly decided to become a jumper. With Earl, you never know! Bezial wouldn’t jump to save his life. He is most content with his lot (apart from the “lot” that involves Earl 😉 ) and when it was just him and us when we first moved here, we didn’t need to worry about shutting the gate as he preferred to lay on the deck out the front and when we would work at the back of the property he would come up with us and then wander back to the house after a “polite time” to lay on his deck. They are such different dogs!

        I am like you. I will always have a dog now. It might not be a great bit heifer of a dog that hauls me through the blackberries but a dog is able to get inside you much more easily than a person can. Dogs know your heart and truly love you. Jan texted us yesterday and told us that they were unpacking their shipping container in 30C heat and then they had to pack it all away into 2 storage units. I am SO glad we stayed put! ;).

      • Robbie
        Oct 24, 2014 @ 05:39:35

        “hugelkultur” is a neat way to deal with debris. I edged all my raised beds and put all those branches to the back of the lot. I did not know it had a formal name-lol. It is the best way to get rid of large logs etc. I can see why a mulch machine like we purchased would not handle your property-yikes it would never get done with a small machine like that.
        We have landscaped to the edges and no place to hide the stuff:-) I need the mulch to build the beds. I need more space, but I don’t want to move-lol
        We shall see how it works. If tree branches fall we need those trucks like you described! That would be what you need:-)
        I am so glad I am staying put…but…I still dream of adventures:-) My first will be to Sweden to see my daughter + her little ones!

      • narf77
        Oct 24, 2014 @ 05:44:36

        I have been watching and lusting after a cooking show all about a Swedish chef cooking his way through Sweden and it is a most beautiful place indeed. Sustainable, gorgeous, full of wonderful people and delicious healthy food, your daughter is very lucky to be living there and when you go (note I am saying “when” and not “if” 😉 ) please take a billion photos so that you can share some with us so that we can live vicariously through your trip :).

  11. Margaret Griffin
    Oct 23, 2014 @ 22:25:32

    Hi, What a heartfelt post! As I was facing my 60th birthday in 2012, I decided if I didn’t make a move then, it would never happen. So I decided to follow my long held ambition of living in Castlemaine. I had been living in the City of Knox for 42 years and 25 years in the suburb of Ferntree Gully so I had well and truly forgotten the dislocation moving brings. I survived the experience of having my world turned upside down and am glad I made the move to a place I love. I have no intention of moving again unless it is to aged care accommodation when I am very old and very frail.

    As for you and Steve, I can understand why you would never willingly leave your chosen spot on Earth – with that fabulous view of the Tamar, wallabies and quolls visiting your land and artichoke chomping possums.


    • narf77
      Oct 24, 2014 @ 03:53:40

      I think most of us “past 50ers” are quite happy with where we are and are doing what we can to enjoy our lives right where we are. You moved to your dream as well so that makes you a brave person in my eyes 🙂


  12. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Oct 24, 2014 @ 12:21:24

    Moving is never easy, whether it’s you or someone you love that’s doing it. As much as I’m dying to move out of home for good, I know it’s going to be a very difficult and painful process. I think my mom might actually have a harder time of it than I will, though! But, it’s never a goodbye and no distance is too far to stay in touch. Sounds like you’ve made yourself some friends for life, no matter where they’re located. 🙂

    PS, that home grown artichoke is amazing! I could never dream of such a sight in my own backyard… I can’t imagine getting up the guts to actually harvest and a thing of such beauty.


    • narf77
      Oct 24, 2014 @ 14:08:11

      The possums harvested it for us and snapped it off at the base 😦 I have another one growing but it, too, is outside the “Earl protection zone”. I am going to have to plant my newly sprouted babies inside the Earl protection zone to make sure that the possums don’t “harvest” my entire plants before they get a chance to fruit. In possums eyes, artichoke plants are jungle gyms 😉


  13. Chica Andaluza
    Oct 25, 2014 @ 02:05:45

    Oh that was a sad and lovely post. Everything about it felt different, even the pace and the writing. We have moved many times, we don’t mind change, but I know we couldn’t leave the pups behind 😦 I hope this is not going to be too tough for you all – skype and e-mail is fine but still no match for a walk, a meal and a bottle of wine. Sending you a big hug….


  14. reocochran
    Oct 26, 2014 @ 23:57:57

    It gets harder every year we accumulate our love for our friends, over years of time. I have only had to give up one friend, due to years of her being the one who was leaning on me. We had ‘outgrown’ each other…The moves in distance, can be the hardest. I meet one of my 30 year long friends 2 x a year, spring and Christmas, We pick up the pieces by just catching up. No texts nor letters back and forth. My over 40 years of friendship, from college, is one we use the phone and have seen each other only 6 times in that long friendship. My good friend, of 20 + years, fills in the holes in my life. I love my work friends, who have to endure the ‘daily grind.’ I am sure you will see this one again, keeping in touch but still right now, hard to imagine the days separated by space… hugs for your wonderful tribute to Jan and Peter’s friendship!


    • narf77
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 04:26:44

      Cheers for finding and liking my blog post about the recent moving away of my friends Jan, Peter and their dog Mieka and thank you for taking the time to leave me a most thoughtful comment. I met Stevie-boy online (just went to check your blog out 🙂 ) and we just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. Dating after a marriage breakup is a terrifying thing indeed but it’s even harder when you are halfway around the world. Cheers, again, for sharing your thoughts here. I really appreciate that you did 🙂


  15. Born To Organize
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 04:10:18

    This is such a heartfelt post. How painful to have good friends move so far away. I couldn’t bear to leave an animal behind. I’m so attached. My heart goes out to you, to them and to the lovely pooch. You’ve written beautifully about the love and joy and loss.

    On the brighter side of this post, congratulations for inheriting all that great furniture. It looks exquisite in your home and I know it will be well loved. xox


    • narf77
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 04:13:58

      Mieka had settled really well into her new home. Jan phoned us up and told us that she loves her 2 new doggy siblings and loves her new owners as well. She now lives on a small farm and has plenty of room to run around in paddocks etc. I have finally stopped banging into the new furniture in the dark when I get up so that means that it is officially “ours” now 😉


  16. The Twisted Yarn
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 07:25:42

    A very moving story. Wishing Jan and Peter (and Mieke/Thundercles) well in their new lives. I must admit that I’m with you on your current preference for staying put in an established life, but I’m fascinated by those who choose to take big chances and move on. It looks beautiful where you live, by the way.


    • narf77
      Oct 27, 2014 @ 07:45:48

      Thank you Ms Twisted Y for this lovely comment :). Social media has allowed us all to live vicariously through the “adventurers” footsteps and documentation. That’s about as adventurous as I feel like getting to be honest. I love my little patch here in the shrubbery and will be staying here for the foreseeable future 🙂


  17. Yelena
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 09:36:49

    Your dogs are so adorable! And the picture with the rainbow looks so majestic, the lighting looks magical. And the post is just perfect.
    Hugs and kisses


  18. Sue Dreamwalker
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 05:43:50

    aww.. Its always sad to say goodbyes especially when you have made good friends.. But I am sure you will keep in touch.. I know I could not leave a pet behind.. or uproot and move across the World like that..Good luck to them.. And speaking of Luck.. WOW now that Dinning table and chairs is wonderful, Plus a larder and freezer full 🙂
    Loved the fact that Earl likes his boxes Lol.. My Cats used to love a cardboard box.. and newspaper they would love.. And if one was left on the floor they would dive at it until they managed to get underneath it.. That was my oldest cats ‘Thing’ LOL..

    Sorry I have not been around lately.. Lots of home projects have taken time.. SO I am catching up in batches with friends.. 🙂 Good to see you 🙂
    Hugs Sue xxx ❤


    • narf77
      Oct 28, 2014 @ 08:01:36

      I am retracting from social media as well. I need to do SO much around here that I am pulling back a bit and just dabbling my toe in and out of the social media stream as and when I have time and feel like it 🙂


      • Sue Dreamwalker
        Nov 10, 2014 @ 02:28:39

        I so know what you mean.. There is just too much to do as the Growing Season takes off.. .. Me.. in my spare moments, the knitting needles are flying! 🙂

      • narf77
        Nov 10, 2014 @ 03:24:02

        You just never know which craft or what pursuit are going to be going on at Serendipity Farm at any given time. We like to hand make our gifts and we are both working feverishly on Christmas gifts for our daughters at the moment but it is all hush hush. I am going to reveal them after they are gifted early in December and will blog about what we did and how we did it for anyone who is interested. I love sharing information and finding information and social media is the most amazing way to share with the ability to ask questions if you are a bit stuck. Love it! 🙂 Hopefully we will see what is flying off your knitting needles in a future post 🙂

      • Sue Dreamwalker
        Nov 11, 2014 @ 02:53:25

        I will so look forward to seeing what gifts you have been making both of you… And only a little more edging to knit now then sew on and the finished item will soon be up 🙂 for you to see 🙂

      • narf77
        Nov 11, 2014 @ 03:54:27


  19. Spy Garden
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 11:49:42

    Gosh you are a great poster. The freaky weird light of glowing yellow with the grey-blue shadows is my favorite sort of light; you did a good job capturing it in photos. Whenever I think about moving I feel wildly adventurous. I would give away all my possessions and move to Alaska or Montana tomorrow. If we didn’t have kids. The area we live is just too wonderful for our kids. ANd I do love the garden! But yes, maybe when they are much older? Smoochie and I talk about living like pioneers. Or I sometimes dream of living in Norway (I have some family there). But it is certainly more fun to IMAGINE doing such things as the logistics get a bit tricky! And where we live now is really wonderful. I think we’ve always been the ones leaving others behind (FL, CT, VT, NC, ME….;) so when I think of others leaving it makes me sort of happy like whew glad I’m not the one going through the hassle of moving! This post also made me think that even though I still have a bit of wanderlust I am so thankful to be in this spot. I currently have a bruise from an end table that hasn’t moved an inch in 5 years HAHAHA. So life can be wonderfully new even if you’re in the same old place, right?! haha. Dog friends are the best. but UGH those wretched possums. Can’t you make a vegan-exception and stew them up?! haha Your artichoke was amazing. I miss mine. They grew for two years but then died in last years 10dayplus -9F weather. Maybe this winter I can start some new seedlings; they are great looking plants.


    • narf77
      Oct 29, 2014 @ 05:14:06

      That’s why I don’t want to move. I think right here…right now is perfect for Stevie-boy and I and it’s us that have been the movers. When I was married to my ex husband, we moved so much my eldest daughter went to 3 different pre-schools! I learned to live out of boxes and to travel light. I, too, would love to travel the world and see it all but if the truth be known, I hate the bampf that goes with organising everything and I am no great fan of the long haul flight. We went to the U.K. back in 2005 and that 24+ hours on a plane isn’t my favourite way of existing. I have been watching an awesome cooking show about Norway at the moment and I can’t believe how gorgeous it looks over there. It’s amazing how clean and green they are and they seem to be on the right track when it comes to producing their own energy and the most amazing foods. Wherever we end up, so long as we are happy, that’s all that matters 🙂


  20. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Oct 28, 2014 @ 14:30:51

    Oh how I would love an eight seater dining table. I’d sit at the end of the table, thundering my fist to the wood and demand to be fed, (Viking style.) I take my hat off to anyone that has the courage to up and change their lives so dramatically. It takes incredible big deep breathes to do stuff like that. Sometimes I certainly wish I had more of that happening.

    I hope your new neighbours are just as lovely Ms Narf….I’ll bet they will be.


    • narf77
      Oct 29, 2014 @ 05:19:09

      I wasn’t sure about the 8 seater dining table for a while but when we moved it in, it just looked “right” there. I will test out the fist thumping ASAP and will let you know about the power rush ;). Dumping your old life and heading off into the great unknown is a most awesome dream indeed. The logistics of doing it are horrific and having seen those logistics unfold I doubt that I would be into peeling off all of those layers of “me” to embrace a possible new me. I love my life and am really happy here. How do I know that I would be happier someplace else? Jan is originally from Germany and so I guess that birthplace siren song may be part of it but I guess there comes a time in your life when you have to admit that if you don’t live your dream soon, and take the chance that it might not work out, you aren’t going to have another chance. I think that they were and are very brave to do this and really hope that everything works out for them. The people that moved into Jan and Peter’s rental appear to be log truck drivers (complete with truck). I am quite glad that they aren’t our actual neighbours ;).


  21. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Nov 04, 2014 @ 04:31:47

    Hi Fran. Sad that your friends are moving on. How kind of you and Steve to support them during that busy time.
    I made the leap of faith in moving to another country, Australia, 34 years ago – a family of four and we did it with just 5 tea chests. One of the boxes was mostly filled with my sons comics because he couldn’t part with them, so we thought that was important to bring them with us. I don’t think he ever looked at them again, but he was happy knowing they were there.
    When I got of that ‘plane in 35 degree heat as it was high summer in Brisbane and the relief in being warm at last, having lived in the UK my whole life, I knew we would be fine. We are.


    • narf77
      Nov 04, 2014 @ 05:10:22

      🙂 I remember tea chests. My gran sent one back when she first went back to visit her family in the U.K. and it must have taken 6 months to get here after she got home and when it did get here it had been “raided” according to my indignant grandmother. Most probably took out all of the seeds and plant material that she would have tried to sneak into the country, not that they would have been much chop after 6 months at sea… I love your relocation story. So many people from the U.K. come out here seeking the heat and when they find it they really don’t like it as much as they thought that they would. You are more Aussie than I am when it comes to accepting the heat. I particularly hate hot days and humid ones make me twitch. I love that you brought a tea chest full of comics so that your son wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and how typical that he never looked at them again. If you still have them they might be worth something now ;). Thank you for dropping by and visiting Serendipity Farm Jean. I know my posts take a bit of reading. Some of my dear constant readers say that they need 2 cups of coffee to read one installment. Maybe they are novellas ;).


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