And so we meet again…

Hi All,

It only seems like yesterday when I was tapping away, tongue sticking out of the side of my mouth, attempting to amuse bouche you guys and here we are again with a new blog post knocking around inside my brain and a deadline of “NOW!” So what’s a girl to do but go all freestyle on your derrières and just wing it with the muses. This week has been a whirlwind of secret crafting business tangled up with gardening and a good dose of telling Stevie-boy what a good husband he is. It’s around about this time of year when everything comes together in the small time and space continuum vortex that is Serendipity Farm and all of the things that I have been putting off all year rise up like phoenixes (or the ghosts of Christmas past more appropriately) to wave their talons/apparition fingers at me and tut in whatever language phoenixes/ghosts tut in.

#Earl loves bloons

#Earl loves bloons

#Earl loves bloons AND walking on the coffee table ;)

#Earl loves bloons AND walking on the coffee table 😉

Stevie-boy, ever the creative genius, has made our youngest daughter Bethany (or Beenz as she has been tagged for a while now) something wonderfully special for her Christmas gift this year. Those of you dear constant readers who have been trying to make head or tail of my blog posts for a while now will know that we are both working on secret Christmas gifts for our daughters as part of a “give us something we like and you might win a $50 booze voucher”. Initially it was that booze voucher that piqued our sense of intrigue but that lasted all of about 10 seconds when the competitive part of the challenge stepped in…”there be WINNING to achieve here folks!” And thus it began…

It's not all about Earl today. This lovely photo of Bezial was photoshopped by Steve

It’s not all about Earl today. This lovely photo of Bezial was photoshopped by Steve

Happy first day of Summer Southern Hemisphere! ;)

Happy first day of Summer Southern Hemisphere! 😉

Stevie-boy listened to my idea for my gift and said “might as well not bother, you have it in the bag”. Which was a great ego boost but to be honest, I didn’t even know if I could create what was inside my head. As I started working on what I have created for Madeline (we got given a daughter each) Stevie-boys competitive streak started to rise up and suddenly he was full of ideas and waving things around in front of my concentrating nose and there were many interruptions to my concentration where I had to “ooo” and “ah” with sufficiently admiring sounds in order to get back to what I was doing. As his creation started to take shape I started to feel the tables flipping and suddenly there was a real competition! Stevie-boy, being Stevie-boy went at his creation like a bull at a gate. He has tamed his desire to finish everything “yesterday” though and is now much more aware of aesthetics and has honed his desire to create quality items rather than “quick” items. I must admit to playing a big part in this transformation…me and my desire to not have the house fall down around us…

Stevie-boy on Saturday faced with this mountain of banana passionfruit that all needed removing

Stevie-boy on Saturday faced with this mountain of banana passionfruit that all needed removing

Most of the banana passionfruit removed and now we just have to remove the dead shrubs under the passionfruit and cut the remainder down to hedge height

Most of the banana passionfruit removed and now we just have to remove the dead shrubs under the passionfruit and cut the remainder down to hedge height

So Stevie-boy’s gorgeous creation is sitting in his music room all finished and ready to be gifted. It is beautiful. I will share it with you in the blog post on December 17th which is immediately after our little familial un-Christmas Christmas celebration as our children are celebrating with their dad and his family who are coming all the way from Western Australia for the occasion. We will have our own delicious Christmas sitting out under the shade of a (not) coolabah tree looking out over the river and giving constant thanks for the circumstances that landed us here on Serendipity Farm.

Narfs breakfast beans

Narfs breakfast beans

The "Dead possum" lily is back for another year. Our friend Jenny just bought one of these. We have hundreds of them that return to reak of death just on Christmas.

The “Dead possum” lily is back for another year. Our friend Jenny just bought one of these. We have hundreds of them that return to reak of death just on Christmas.

My gift creation isn’t so easy. Not only have I had to learn several new skills in order to create this gift, but I have also had to take those newly learned skills and riff on a theme. What I am creating is pretty out there and I have to adapt things from all over the (most wonderful) sharing caring colony of crafters and their wonderful “free tutorials” and then change them to suit my needs. I am quite pleased with the results and everything is starting to come together nicely but it aint finished folks and I am starting to twitch because today is December the third and I need to be finished by this weekend as I have other projects to get stuck into ASAP and this one is starting to take on epic proportions. I can’t wait to share our creations with you and our daughters gave us an amazing gift when they thought up this challenge in the first place. They gave us the gift of actually thinking about the person we are giving a gift to and really homing in on what they like and both Stevie-boy and I have learned a lot in the process so we all win in the end. Stewart and Kelsey have both been given a giftee as well and I know what Stewart has got Madeline  and she is going to be hard pressed to choose between his gift and mine (so that is why I am going to have to slip sleeping pills into his morning coffee and render him AWOL on the day! 😉 ) NO idea what Kelsey is contemplating but now she is a most honorary Aussie (her visa to stay came through…”HOORAY!” 🙂 ), she can stop worrying about heading back to frozen Texas (does it freeze in Texas?) and can spend Christmas Day sweltering away like the rest of us southerners ;).

A wasp is moving in to our bug house! :)

A wasp is moving in to our bug house! 🙂

Stevie-boy is finishing off cutting up last years logs ready for our next load to be delivered.

Stevie-boy is finishing off cutting up last years logs ready for our next load to be delivered.

Stevie-boy deserved a beer after this! :)

Stevie-boy deserved a beer after this! 🙂

So what else has narf been up to (apart from twitching about the rapidly approaching gift giving celebration day that is…), well the garden has taken up a good part of our week. I have been carrying on with my newfound idea to shove all kinds of veggies etc. in all kinds of places. The thing about pests is that they tend to flock when they get a sniff of something in a row. I don’t know what it is about pests but they appear to be regimented and like mass plantings. The problem is, most veggie gardeners love nice neat rows of things as that makes it easier to garden, to harvest and to keep tabs on what you have in your garden and what you can plant in the recently vacated soil. Not for narf, this nice easy life that is “rows”. I have planted out beetroot, okra (the few that the slugs didn’t scoff… see, slugs eat it as they need to replace all of that slime!), Roselle’s (that are developing a gorgeous rosy colour on their little round leaves), beetroot, a single tomatillo (that will be joined by a few of its brethren soon), lots of silverbeet and spinach as they are two of my most consumed foodstuffs over the summer period, 2 cucumber plants (gifted from a friend) and 3 very sad Roma tomatoes from the self-same friend who had just plonked the plants into her small pond and left them there for over a week. Tomatoes are survivor’s folks. These tomatoes were living a semi aquatic lifestyle! There is a whole lot going on in narf7’s garden but only the potato onions and the radishes (yes “radishes” Madeline! 😉 ) are in rows. Everything else is scattered all over the place like a particularly fecund Salvador Dali or Picasso painting.

Steve has been messing around in Photoshop with this lovely original image taken at Hollybank, a lovely reserve 15 minutes east of Launceston.

Steve has been messing around in Photoshop with this lovely original image taken at Hollybank, a lovely reserve 15 minutes east of Launceston.

This version is a reflected version with a soft glow

This version is a reflected version with a soft glow

This version is a reflection in "water"

This version is a reflection in “water”

This one reminds me of the Blair Witch forest!

This one reminds me of the Blair Witch forest!

This is my favourite version. Its haunting but lovely. Isn't Photoshop amazing if you learn how to use it well?

This is my favourite version. Its haunting but lovely. Isn’t Photoshop amazing if you learn how to use it well?

In my first year of gardening I tried to create garden beds but the possums and wallabies caused them to be covered to the back gills with bird netting, wire, chook netting and sticks and although the harvest was pretty good, most of it went to seed as the cruel irony of all of my protective devices was that “I” couldn’t get into there either! Year 2 saw us with Sanctuary but my “get-up-and-go” had gotten up and went. I wasn’t in the mood to vegetable garden and it was only through my friend Jenny and our compost heap contents that anything grew in Sanctuary at all. We shall call it “The year of the pumpkin” for that very reason and the pumpkins took over and ruled the bit of Sanctuary that the possums couldn’t reach. The possums ate everything green as well as quite a few pumpkins and until we managed to completely stop them from gaining entry, they had free reign. Not THIS YEAR possums! This year Sanctuary has been fortified with plastic coated wire clothes line. It looks like a green oasis of possum envy and I have had the incredibly satisfying experience of planting out citrus trees, seedlings and all sorts of berry bushes underneath a sea of seething and most envious possum activity. I know they are up there because their little deposits are fertilising Sanctuary 😉


Steve's prototype most awesome new Christmas tree. We haven't sprayed it green yet but it has spacers between the "limbs" and we can move the limbs around to wherever we like

Steve’s prototype most awesome new Christmas tree. We haven’t sprayed it green yet but it has spacers between the “limbs” and we can move the limbs around to wherever we like

And one of the best bits (the bit that makes Steve call this his "Ikea" Christmas tree) is that it folds flat for under bed storage for the rest of the year! :)

And one of the best bits (the bit that makes Steve call this his “Ikea” Christmas tree) is that it folds flat for under bed storage for the rest of the year! 🙂

I have been experimenting by planting things like silverbeet, spinach and the odd Roselle directly into small heaps that I have put compost on one side of and spent horse manure and lots of oak leaves on the other. I learned that a big pile of well-aged horse manure is like gloriously fertile soil to most plants. I also learned it dries out pretty quickly though so adding extra’s to it is part and parcel of working with this wonderful medium. Enter the oak leaf mould and the compost. My experiments have me seeing if adding compost to the higher side of the pile (everything is on a degree of slope on Serendipity Farm aka “Slippery Slope” Farm 😉 ) will cause nutrient run off down to the rest of the pile. I have 3 smallish piles in between all of the citrus trees as I know that they are heavy feeders and I am attempting to kill a whole mess of birds with a single stone. I have a very large compost heap full of compost, horse manure, oak leaves and a lot of dried grass from Glad’s back paddock next door, on the other side of Sanctuary in which a small but most determined crew of red and yellow raspberries is going it’s best to take over the world. I know that they won’t be able to achieve world domination because they have an even bigger and more determined patch of Jerusalem artichokes surrounding them to get through before they can conquer Sanctuary. “Good luck with that raspberries!”

Jenny's raspberries that grew from a single raspberry plant that she planted last year (note to self WATCH those raspberries inside Sanctuary! ;) )

Jenny’s raspberries that grew from a single raspberry plant that she planted last year (note to self WATCH those raspberries inside Sanctuary! 😉 )

Everything eats Jenny's plants but what they don't eat I pay close attention to. If they don't eat it at Jenny's place, there is a very good chance that they won't eat it here! Guess who is about to buy some dianthus...

Everything eats Jenny’s plants but what they don’t eat I pay close attention to. If they don’t eat it at Jenny’s place, there is a very good chance that they won’t eat it here! Guess who is about to buy some dianthus…

And some penstemons...

And some penstemons…

And How about elderberries. Jenny has a particularly nice selection of these beauties. Nothing eats them because aside from the fruit they are completely poisonous :)

And How about elderberries. Jenny has a particularly nice selection of these beauties. Nothing eats them because aside from the fruit they are completely poisonous 🙂

The excitement of propagation has returned and poor Steve had to dig a “root growth zone” (aka “hole”) for me to plant out a new Emperor mandarin that our friend Jenny gave us to add to our growing collection. She has also gifted us a couple of cherry trees as the native wild life at her home just hoover anything fruity down. We are working on creating a Mediterranean garden for her as they won’t touch figs, quinces etc. and so I am thinking that the best bet for her is to plant what the possums can’t stand. You have to work within the parameters that your situation hands you sometimes and then when you have the basics set up, you can start fandangling with the principle of the thing. That’s how we gardeners roll. We are never happy to call it quits because there is always something new around the corner that piques our interest.

A lovely rose at Jenny's house

A lovely rose at Jenny’s house

And the reason why it is still alive ;)

And the reason why it is still alive 😉

We visited Jenny yesterday and gave her a sack of small agapanthus that we crowbarred up from near our front gate. When we were studying our Diploma in Landscape Design we had to come up with a plan each for a Design and we ended up using Jenny’s place as our Design. We came up with a lovely rosemary, lavender and agapanthus series of low hedges surrounding a potager style garden full of things that possums and wallabies and rabbits (and now native crayfish!) wouldn’t like to eat. It was a challenge but the real challenge is that Jenny wants to actually create this garden for reals! So thus finds us crowbarring up agapanthus babies for the near future and sharing the things that we can and can’t grow between us. It is awesome having a good friend who just “gets” us and our crazy desire to be plant slaves and to be like Dr Frankenstein when it comes to grafting all kinds of strange things onto other strange things (cue the thunder, lightning and crazy laughter…)

Lambs ear and (the dreaded) osteospermum daisies and wallflowers. There are a lot of plants that our native animals find unpalatable, I just have to find out which ones they are and plant them :)

Lambs ear and (the dreaded), Arbutilons,  osteospermum daisies and wallflowers. There are a lot of plants that our native animals find unpalatable, I just have to find out which ones they are and plant them 🙂

This is what happens when Jenny tries to plant out fruit trees...

This is what happens when Jenny tries to plant out fruit trees…

The old "stuffed toy to scare the natives away" obviously doesn't work ;)

The old “stuffed toy to scare the natives away” obviously doesn’t work 😉

Visiting friends has benefits, especially when they don't like broad beans :)

Visiting friends has benefits, especially when they don’t like broad beans 🙂

Oh dear. I have manically arrived at a long blog post again. I can’t say that I am sorry as I am not. I love sharing what excites me with you all. Pretty soon you will get to see what has been keeping Stevie-boy and I busy for the last few months (well Stevie-boy for a weekend or two and me for about 3 months now!) in the gifting arena. I would like to thank both of our daughters for giving us all this challenge as we have both learned SO much from having to adapt what they like to what we are capable of creating. ALL kinds of lessons learned, challenges raised to meet and exciting possibilities arising thanks to this desire to stop Christmas from turning into a series of gift voucher or cash handouts. Let’s all take Christmas back this year folks. It doesn’t have to be a commercial crazy rush of cash flowing out of your account/cards, it can be carefully thought out and meticulously planned but if you don’t end up feeling like you have taken part, what’s the point? Lets take Christmas (whatever it means to you) back from the middle men and place it firmly in the creative bent of our own little hot hands. I know that Stevie-boy has had a lot of fun creating our latest “Christmas tree” and that we are creating all of our own decorations this year. That’s how you feel “Christmassy”…Christmas is in the processes, the lead up, the wonder of creation and the enjoyment of sharing a good meal with good friends and family. Being thankful for the year that has past, the year that is about to hit us (EEK!) and being grateful, thankful and most joyful for our continued existence on this small blue planet navigating it’s way around a small bright star somewhere out there in this wide expanse of a universe. See you all next week 🙂

I will leave you with a parting shot of Serendipity Farm on the first official day of summer just to make you Northerners feel a bit happier about your own bad weather ;)

I will leave you with a parting shot of Serendipity Farm on the first official day of summer just to make you Northerners feel a bit happier about your own bad weather 😉

Just a quick note, next week I will be in Hobart with my 2 daughters getting ready to attend a Ben Folds concert (“SQUEE!”) my Christmas gift from my daughters so Stevie-boy will be left to hold the fort and will be responsible for next weeks blog post. He has just informed me that he wants to write next weeks blog post. You can be assured it will be smaller than my usual blog posts ;).


62 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. thecontentedcrafter
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 18:46:04

    Enjoy Ben Folds – I think he is great too! I am thrilled to pieces that you are thrilled to pieces with your creation that you are creating for one daughter. And good on the wonder boy coming up with his own wonder boy type creation for the other daughter. It is so exciting and you know I can’t wait for the unveiling. You had better take detailed pictures to assuage our curiosity given that we can’t actually hold, touch, turn, smell, taste or whatever else might be involved with the real thing.[did you see how I threw daughter snoopers off track there?] 🙂

    This week is really all about Stevie-boy – his tree – brilliant, he should patent it! – his photoshop work – it was great seeing the progression , the last one is just pure chocolate box fantasy and so pretty! Steve and the banana passionfruit [it’s the same issues here] Steve and the log pile and of course Steve and his secret Christmas gift. This is all just in one week? No wonder you spend a goodly part of your day telling him how wonderful he is – he is!!

    The gardening remains impressive, the amount of stuff you have in boggles the mind and must be driving the possums absolutely crazy – it is all very exciting and inspiring and thought provoking!

    Have a wonderful week and a great time at the concert and give my love to Ben xoxo


  2. cathyandchucky
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 19:47:15

    Love Ben Folds. You’ll have a great time together. Looking forward to your gift pictures too 😄


  3. Chica Andaluza
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 21:07:40

    Have been very amuse bouched and I think phoenixes speak phoenician?! Have a wonderful time in Hobart and please send broad beans in our direction 😉


  4. Chica Andaluza
    Dec 03, 2014 @ 21:12:22

    And I hit send too soon….love the Christmas tree and the idea of making gifts. I often do this and this year the quilt I’m working on is for us – am hoping it will be done in time. Last year I bought a real tree, a potted one, as had missed this in Spain. We have loved it and looked after it and it has sprouted and been very happy. It will come into the little conservatory to acclimatise in a few weeks and be decorated just before Christmas. Fingers crossed for the booze voucher 😉


    • narf77
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 06:35:22

      We have a good chance at that booze voucher (2 in 4) so fingers crossed indeed but to be honest, that booze voucher lost it’s potency about a week into the challenge. It’s all about “who wins” now and not what the reward is ;). Hopefully the recipients like what they are getting and we are not just getting caught up in the thrill of the chase! ;). We used to have a real Christmas tree each year but then we stopped cutting them down because we fell in love with trees. I think a real one in a pot is a great idea. I have a very small dwarf spruce that might play a part in this years festivities in your honour :). I agree on the phoenician, just not sure what the ghostly variant is and I have so many broad beans I am thinking about recipes for them and I might even preserve some in olive oil and vinegar as they are so tender and delicious.


      • Chica Andaluza
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 04:31:22

        I have a couple of broad bean recipes on the blog but I think most of them involve eggs and ham which is no good for you 😦 I love that you’re making stuff because you’re enjoying it…that’s the best approach of all!

      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 04:38:14

        slather anything with enough olive oil and sea salt and you have a goer is my deal at the moment. Not sure I will fit through the door by Christmas time but I can’t get enough of that EVOO poured over the top of just about everything! 🙂

      • Chica Andaluza
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 04:40:39

        Wish I could send you some of ours – nothing on the olive trees apart from rain water and chicken poo and then taken to ye olde olive pressinge mille (or the Spanish equivalent) and cold stone pressed. Soooo good !

      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 04:58:50

        We have a small olive tree (about 18 ft tall) next to the shed and every year “something” eats the olives before they ripen. There are a lot of olives grown around in our district. They love the rocky steep hills. Reminds them of the “Old Country” 😉

  5. Littlesundog
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 02:24:54

    I only have Photoshop Elements, and I daresay I need to take a class to figure that out beyond a few adjustments! In part, I just don’t care about editing that way myself, but I love to see what others do. It takes talent – I’m tellin ya!

    Texas? I would love to live in Texas! Warmer climate, access to the ocean, and friendly folks. I think initially I should have moved just one more state down… but then I ran into FD before I knew all about Texas (where his sister lives). I fell in love with FD… end of story. Here I am.

    We do not celebrate Christmas with much gift giving (though that booze voucher sounds mighty enticing!) and usually just get together with family. This year we’ll be in Dallas, Texas with Sissy Jo and her family! Woot!! I can’t wait to see and hear all about this secret surprise… hey, isn’t there some kind of etiquette rules about dangling hints about surprises in front of people? Surely your dedicated readers should get some kind of inside info on this? I hate waiting… can you tell? 🙂


    • narf77
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 06:41:08

      I have to be VERY careful about just what hints I dangle Ms Lori because my dear daughter Madeline reads my blog posts so divulging the goss is NOT an option ;). You only have to wait a couple of weeks as she is receiving her gift on December 14th so on the 17th, you get the gifts in their full technicolour glory. I am not much for Photoshop (aside from that little macro that Steve put in that allows me to load up a zillion photos and click “F2” and they all re-size to 800…WOOT! 🙂 and my shots are Au natural. I think Photoshop is where images can become art where straight up excellent photos are more talent and the ability to read your subject. You are able to read your subject amazingly well. I guess that comes from feeling a camaraderie with your subject matter. It really shows :). You never know where life can take you. You might end up in Texas with FD some day. If you had told me that I was going to marry a man from the UK and move to Tasmania to live back in 1997 I would have told you that you were nuts. You never know what life will throw you. You are going to have to be patient about the unveiling 😉


  6. quarteracrelifestyle
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 03:16:44

    I don’t know who Ben Folds is so shall have to google but enjoy it anyway 🙂 It’s been a long time since Steve has done a post! I love those photoshopped photos and yes, the fourth one is beautiful . My request this year for a handmade Christmas was met with a “You know I can’t make anything but a mess Ma” from one of my sons so we have agreed this year our low key Xmas that I always ask for will not be his chance to shower his mother with expensive gifts like he usually does. I look forward to seeing your creations 🙂 I like the snow on your page here Fran, our first day of summer started with a frost and we are experiencing our yucky Spring winds – every day blowing a gale but warm.


    • narf77
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 06:44:44

      Its raining steadily here today. I set out at 5am with Earl in a little sprinkle and it turned into slow steady rain by the time we turned around at the halfway point to come home. It’s just gotten more steady so I am glad I walked when I did! Ben Folds is an amazing musician and you might not know his name, but I am quite sure you would have heard one or more of his songs back in the 90’s. He is in concert with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra so it should be quite a night :). Why not tell your son to buy something made by a local crafts person/artisan? At least that way you get something handmade and he gets to splash out like he wants to and someone local gets the benefits? Sounds like a win-win situation to me? My son calls me Ma too :). YUK on the warm spring winds…sounds like our January weather to me. I don’t mind the rain, at least it means I don’t have to water the garden 🙂


      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:36:31

        I think we settled on a soap stamp 🙂 I don’t like him spending too much, he spoils me enough….my laptop and cellphone etc are all from him. I checked the Ben Folds out, I have never heard of him and don’t remember his songs at all. The 80’s and 90’s were a bit of a blur but not for any misuse of substance problem 🙂 I just worked too hard and had too many kids, stepkids and foster kids lol. I am stuck in the 70’s in my memories of music.

        Yeah I don’t mind the rain either, usually thankful for it, the winds are just a pain.

        Both my boys call me Ma, funny 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:35:48

        At least a soap stamp is practical and good for your business. Your son obviously just wants to show you that he loves you and that’s the best way that he knows how :). The 90’s was my leap from my first marriage into the crazy world of “beyond” and the music of the 90’s helped me to stay out of the mental asylum. I guess it figures quite predominately in my relationship with Stevie-boy as well because we maintained a long distance relationship for a year before we met and then for another year and a bit till he moved out here so it was 5am starts (when I wasn’t a morning person…that shows dedication! 😉 ) and midnight chats for me, so the local radio station and I got very up close and personal. Some of those soundtracks were won via that radio station as I was the only person up at 5am to win their CD giveaways ;). Wind is just part and parcel of living on Serendipity Farm (or Tassie in general) as we have the roaring 40’s as part of our everyday life. We also get other kinds of wind which are less pleasant (mainly from the dogs 😉 ). I only have one boy and he calls me Ma but my daughters call me whatever they feel like calling me on the day 😉

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:46:56

        🙂 Music has always been my stress buster but generally not radio , rather my choice of CDs I feel like on the day….which will be why I never heard of the guy. Now with youtube I flick around and find occasional new ones I like and am a great fan of Ed Shearan. You can pretty much guarantee once every two days I will have Gary Moore turned up very loud. It’s nice that after such a yucky time you found romance in such an exciting way….Steve would’ve been great company for you and probably best at a distance for a while 🙂 The same happened for my son and I am forever grateful to his lovely wife for loving my son through such a difficult time for him. The internet is a great thing!

      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:56:47

        You hear about how awful online relationships are but not a lot about how it can work (not newsworthy 😉 ). I am glad your son met someone that he could connect with online as well. It takes dedication! Steve is a great Gary Moore fan and his dads favourite song was Parisian walkways so every year on what would have been his dad’s birthday (December 27th) he plays it and has a Guinness in memory of his dad 🙂

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 02:00:57

        My sister and husband met on-line too but she did say she met alot of idiots first. Yes, it does take alot of dedication, when you meet the right one though you know it ay.
        Steve has good taste and that’s a great song, nice to have a song to sit and listen to to remember someone. Enjoy your concert 🙂

      • narf77
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 05:08:45

        Thank you Wendy, I will enjoy the concert. I think if you “get” a musician, they tap into something inside you and you get a whole lot more than an aural experience. I love a good concert and this one promises to be a beaut :). Steve and I met back in the days when it was a bit weird to have online relationships. My mum and sister were dead against it till they met him and it was fine after that. It’s not that much different to meeting someone at the pub and nowdays, online relationships are just as common, if not moreso than regular face to face relationships.

      • quarteracrelifestyle
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 11:51:28

        And you get to meet, sometimes, the one person who “gets” you but who lives over the other side of the world! Alot to be careful about but no different than meeting any stranger nowadays.

        And about the musician, yep. Have fun.

  7. Robbie
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 10:29:22

    It is looking good-Have fun at your concert + enjoy a break:-)


    • narf77
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:26:49

      Thankyou Robbie 🙂


      • Robbie
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 07:40:41

        + you deserve it, forgot to say that yesterday for I was thinking, we “organic growers” need a break for it is HARD work!!! Don’t get too crazy-lol

      • narf77
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 04:56:06

        Crazy? Moi? 😉 I have been flat out trying to finish this Christmas gift and only had time to dump a load of compost in Sanctuary and pick the first 3 ripe raspberries for Steve and I to try yesterday morning. I have never eaten a fresh raspberry in my life. They are gorgeous! Even Steve, the non-fruit eater loved them. I then spent the next 12 hours straight working on Madeline’s gift. I have to get it finished by tomorrow as I have to help Steve whipper snip the back acre bush block to reduce the fire risk this year. Wish me luck for finishing it today 🙂

      • Robbie
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 09:03:33

        You have never eaten a fresh raspberry in your life off the bush! That is a treat:-) AMAZING!!!!
        Hope it all works out-we are all waiting to see your gifts:-) You have fun!!! I send you luck all wrapped up:-)

      • Robbie
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 07:41:32

        meant-“us” organic growers, for many of us not just us-two-lol

      • narf77
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 04:56:37

        Lol! I guess there might be a few more than just “we” out there 😉

      • Robbie
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 09:03:56


  8. reocochran
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 11:14:47

    I liked the photos, the Christmas trees, especially the Ikea tree, the dog pictures and all the special ways you share your life here. I dropped by, visiting from Pauline’s post about you all. Thanks for the fun and hope to come back soon…


    • narf77
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:29:02

      You are welcome any time, I love to see new faces and hear what people think about life, the universe and everything. Stevie-boys Christmas tree was a stroke of genius. He has to rest his brain now for a while in order to pull the next genius stroke out of the bag ;). Glad you liked the dog pictures. They are part of our family here on Serendipity Farm 🙂


  9. foodnstuff
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 12:58:13

    I lurve that Christmas tree. Any tips on how he made it?


    • rabidlittlehippy
      Dec 04, 2014 @ 20:22:03

      Maybe if we ask very nicely, Steve will do a “how to” post next Wednesday. 🙂


      • narf77
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:44:10

        I have NO idea what Steve is going to do a post about. He has a free reign but I WILL be checking when I get back! 😉

    • narf77
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:41:43

      It was easy peasy Bev. He started with a large threaded bolt length from Bunnings (about 5ft tall). We were given some length of pine from those friends that left Tassie for Germany and he cut some down into thinner lengths. He was lazy and just cut them all to the same length and when he had finished making enough he cut the Christmas tree shape while the flat tree was laying on the ground. I forgot to mention the spacers, they are just small pieces of pine block (little squares) to allow space between the “branches” for putting decorations on (otherwise it was a tight fit). The pine had holes drilled through the centre and so did the spacers. The order was one branch, one spacer etc. until the top which was a branch and there is room at the top for a star, a fairy, whatever you feel like on the day. We still need to spray it green but you could spray each branch whatever colour you liked. You could have a selection of gold, silver, red, green, white, sparkly whatever branches depending on what you wanted. He wanted something that would store under the bed as up till now ours have all had to spend most of the year in the shed next to Sanctuary that gets wet in winter and borers love them. Last years tree went up in a puff of borer dust, thus enter…”The Ikea Tree” ;). Hope that was a help? Oh, he drilled a hole in a chunk of blackwood that he got from the wood pile for the base. NOTHING is going to knock that tree over (unless Earl eats the blackwood…) 😉


      • foodnstuff
        Dec 05, 2014 @ 22:51:15

        Thanks a million! I would love to make one for a friend. I’ve seen those long threaded bolts in Bunnings and wondered what you would do with them. I love making things out of wood. I’ll have a go at one.

        PS love the snowflakes.

      • narf77
        Dec 06, 2014 @ 05:06:09

        Yeah…snow…on Serendipity Farm in Summer…”get it together WordPress, half of the world is just about to turn brown and blow away!” ;). Steve will probably do a more detailed post about it as part of his blog “event” on Wednesday. I am frankly afraid of what he is about to post about but who am I to stop the tide eh? ;). He is one clever little problem solver and always comes up with amazing fixes and solutions for our “how can I” and “how are we going to…” questions. A very hands on problem solver and I am very lucky to have his problem solving on tap. I need to learn to focus more on the problem solving and less on the mess that is generated though… 😉

  10. christiglover
    Dec 04, 2014 @ 14:39:59

    Have a wonderful visit with Bethany and Madeline, and from the looks of this post, Steve will have the whole yard and house ship-shape by the time you get back. He is a keeper. It’s raining here now, too, but not so cold or dark as Seattle. Rain for the catchment at night, sun for the solar during the day. What a life! Love you and all your projects. Kisses from Hawaii, Christi


    • narf77
      Dec 05, 2014 @ 03:43:37

      The bliss of finding your own personal Nirvana can never be understated. I am SO glad you guys took the chance to move as you both appear to be so happy now :). I think you have a post in my RSS Feed Reader. I have been flat out around here and never got to see my reader yesterday but might get to it today. If not, definitely tomorrow! I hope to have a fantastic time at the Ben Folds concert and Steve is off to whipper snip the back paddock today 🙂


  11. Margaret Griffin
    Dec 05, 2014 @ 15:53:58

    Hi Fran, I am glad Earl enjoyed his ‘bloons’ – simple pleasures! The photographs of Earl on the table with his ‘bloons’ are not for Katie’s eyes though. One of her vices is yarn – she cannot resist a nice, soft, chewy, forbidden ball of yarn and is fully prepared to flout the ‘no dogs on the table’ rule to obtain one that has been left unattended. (Sigh) My articles of knitting or crochet all have a generous coating of dog slobber as they have passed through Katie’s mouth during their manufacture.

    Clearly you have been having different weather in northern Tasmania to Central Victoria as the first day of summer was well, summery. In fact, we have been enjoying summer in Castlemaine for about three weeks now.

    I am glad you can grow dianthus where you live. One of the joys of living here is being able to grow these little fragrant beauties. I have them in pots by my front door. Are you going to add fox gloves to your list of plants you could grow as I see Jenny has a collection of them. I am assuming holly hocks are also distasteful to possums, kangaroos and wallabies as there are some fine specimens growing around the neighbourhood.

    I am looking forward to Steve’s post and reading about your pre Christmas nosh up with your family.


    • narf77
      Dec 06, 2014 @ 05:03:48

      Bezial used to be my yarn thief till he turned 3 and became responsible (for some reason) where Earl stole wool with impunity, steals just about everything with impunity but only when he feels like it so you can never get comforable with leaving anything out as just when you think he is over nibbling things, he nibbles! Yesterday I heard a bang on the deck. I thought it was a stick from the euc tree next to the house but it was the wooden dingler bit from our wind chime. The rope holding it on had perished but Earl found it and now it is in 2 pieces with some rather suspicious, tell-tale chew marks on it ;).

      I have wild foxgloves growing in the garden so I just let them spread as nothing eats them. Anything that nothing eats, instantly comes onto my radar. I propagated some wormwood (nothing eats it) and a salvia looking thing with grey leaves that were over in the park on the other side of the Batman bridge. If they live there with no water and under constant grazing predation by all and sundry, they can live here! I think it really is a matter of finding what they don’t like and planting it out the wazoo! Jenny has a laburnum arch in full flower this year for the very same reason 😉

      I am slightly worried about Steve’s post. He has posted in the past and aside from everyone loving his manic posts, I just don’t know what he is going to say. I will leave a list of topics and words that he shouldn’t use and will just hope he looks at it 😉

      My daughters, who are amazing cooks, have decided that they want to “do” our Christmas food for the 14th and we are divvying up the cost 3 ways as there will be 3 households represented on the day which means no hard work for us and some seriously good (and interesting) food from the girls. I will probably make some mini quiches etc. but I am a cook at heart and can’t help myself ;). I will take lots of pictures, I promise 🙂


  12. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Dec 06, 2014 @ 12:56:35

    Oh Steve, that ‘Ikea’ Christmas tree is awesome. How brilliant is that. It gave me lots of ideas, now if only I had a drill to my left right now I’d be whipping something up all Christmassy like.


    • narf77
      Dec 07, 2014 @ 04:41:04

      Stevie-boy is VERY chuffed that so many of you have taken an interest in his Ikea Christmas tree idea. Its a great space saving (borer repellent) idea and will be great for Christmas for many years to come. Very cheap to make as well so great for Christmas on a budget AND space saving 🙂


  13. Linne
    Dec 07, 2014 @ 15:15:35

    WordPress just ate my comment. Gotta go; will re-do later (not today, though). Hugs to you all. ~ Linne


    • narf77
      Dec 08, 2014 @ 03:54:12

      Always remember to type your comment out in a notepad page first then WordPress can’t snarf your comment and you can just copy and paste it into the comment box. I always used to lose comments before I got fed up and took matters into my own hands. Even if Blogger (and their stupid Catchpha “fill in a number so we can prove you aren’t spam” (cept the number is SO blurry humans can’t read it!)) pitches a fit and deletes the comment, you still have it and can paste it in again. I am most tenacious about my comments now and good luck to the program trying to stop me posting my comment! 😉


      • Linne
        Dec 08, 2014 @ 14:24:11

        It was short, so I didn’t bother – more fool me, eh? Basically (as I remember today) I just said I loved the post, the photos, Stevie-Boy’s tree (amazing idea and execution), the dogs and Sanctuary. I ‘specially loved the ‘waterforest photo. Oh, and I did reveal that the sleeping bag you may have glimpsed under the largest pumpkin plant is mine and that I hoped you have the billy on under the (not) coolibah tree . . . I’ll be there for tea soon, you know . . . 🙂

        Glad you have discovered raspberries; they have been part of so many of the places I’ve lived that I often take them for granted. Mum and I both love a fresh bowl in the morning with milk and a little sugar (and I’d do cream if I had a lovely wee Guernsey handy . . .

        Have to admit I still yearn for a ‘real’ tree, but so many places don’t allow them and Mum has an artificial one she keeps decorated; no fun in that for someone like me who relishes taking time to place each item ‘just so’ (I even hang the icicles one by one). When I had my family Christmases, I would string three popped popcorns, then one cranberry (repeat until tree is well decorated) on heavy thread, tie the ends together and hang on the tree. I still have the hand-made ornaments I put together over the years, but I think they are in BC. The only bought things I used to have were the wee white lights, but that was only when we were in the city, and sometimes I used them to light the room instead of the tree. Good memories, so thanks a bunch to Steve for that.

        Have a great week, eh? and enjoy your visit with the girls and all. Am looking forward to Steve’s post and wonder if he will post a photo of your list of ‘forbidden words’ . . . 😉

      • narf77
        Dec 09, 2014 @ 04:23:51

        I am drinking tea as I type this so the kettle is permanently on stand-by in this place ;). Steve and I are just enjoying the few fruits that we are getting as these raspberries are new this year from our friend and she assures me I am going to regret planting them all over Sanctuary. How could you regret awesome fruit? Narp…happiness ALL the way and I LOVE fresh raspberries. They are so sweet and they let you know when they are ready unlike strawberries that are red but are they the RIGHT red as if they aren’t, they tend to be a little tangy with that sweet which I don’t mind but Steve doesn’t like “tang” so raspberries are the go with him.

        So you are like me with the Christmas tree eh? I have been known to rant at people placing garlands “NO it doesn’t look right!” and usually end up doing the tree myself as people get tired of being told that they have no designer elan ;). It might make you amazed but we don’t have fresh cranberries here. When we went to the U.K. Madeline bought a punnet of them and before we could warn her she had eaten 3 and learned her lesson ;). We ended up putting them into drinks as we all caught colds on the plane over there. When I was a kid we used to make popcorn garlands. You just reminded me! This year we are making all of our own decorations for our tree including paper mache and some cinnamon and clove decorations from a stack of cinnamon that Jan left us before she wended her way to Germany. Good memories are always precious :).

        I am looking forward to Steve’s post as well BUT you guys are going to have to wait for photo’s as he is under STRICT instruction not to let the cat out of the bag and when it comes to “tight lipped” I have NOTHING on Stevie-boy ;). You are in for a tutorial for how to make the tree and most probably some more of his gorgeous photo’s as well as some of his home-spun (insane) logic methinks. Could be a most interesting ride should you choose to participate ;). I will be back on Thursday most probably knackered so wish me luck as I have some serious miles to drive over the next few days. We are borrowing Stewart’s little car as it uses less fuel (and I can park it easier) so fingers crossed it behaves itself!

  14. Sue Dreamwalker
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 06:00:48

    Can not wait until the 17th Dec when your crafting skills will be revealed.. it will be lovely to have family get together at this time.. And oh love that you have a new neighbour already LOL in the wasp taking up residence.. 🙂 and Great looking Christmas tree… Very unique and novel idea..
    Also I enjoyed your photo’s the ghostly look I agree with you 😉 about th Blair Witch Project.. 🙂
    Your garden is coming along lovely and so enjoyed the updates and roses

    What I want to know it does the Old stuffed Toy work… 🙂

    So enjoyed my Catch up read.. Love to you.. Sue


  15. brymnsons
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 22:22:51

    Well I’m sure I left a message but now I see it didn’t post… Oh well here I go again… loved the tree, very clever. Lucky dog with his balloons, Love love love the photoshopped picture of Bezial and wow what a pile of wood! Hope you have the best time in Hobart x


    • narf77
      Dec 09, 2014 @ 04:32:38

      I am twitching (like I always do) on the drive down and back to Hobart but I am sure I will have a ball, especially being able to see Ben Folds in concert as it will probably be my only chance to do so. A lovely gift from my girls :). We saved a few balloons for making paper mache but I doubt that we will be able to blow them up and use them as Earl will be sniffing around as he is now addicted hopelessly to bursting “bloons” ;). Keep an eye on Steve’s post for me and you have to act as Jiminy Cricket to his Pinnochio OK? ;). Next Wednesday I do the big “reveal” “TA-DA!” moment with the gift I have made for Madeline. I hope it is worth the wait and that Madeline likes it. I don’t need to win the prize, I just need for her to like it. Is it getting hot over there? Still raining here, much like it was before you guys came over last year. Maybe late spring, early summer is our new winter? 😉


      • brymnsons
        Dec 09, 2014 @ 22:49:36

        Drive safely and I’m sure you will have a ball. Can’t wait to see what Steve writes :D. Oh yes isn’t it nerve wracking when you make something for someone. I’m sure she will love it! Can’t wait to see what you guys have been up to. Had a couple of hotties lately but a few cooler days to help us get over them. Yes I think the seasons are getting later… Have fun x

      • narf77
        Dec 12, 2014 @ 17:17:07

        Had a ball, suffering from shellshock now but I should recover by Christmas ;). The weather is still cool here and looks like it might rain tonight but I am NOT going to complain when I think about the alternative. Bethany and I walked from where we were staying in Hobart to the Casino for the concert and we had to take an umbrella as it was drizzling! Hopefully this doesn’t mean we get a late autumn start as I really don’t like summer (it’s a bummer 😉 ). All the gifts photographed (for next Wednesday’s post) and wrapped up for this Sunday. Fingers crossed they like them 🙂

      • brymnsons
        Dec 12, 2014 @ 19:43:42

        Ah drizzle, rain even… a distant memory in this 38 degree haze we have today. Glad you had a great time and can’t wait to see your creative goodness x

      • narf77
        Dec 13, 2014 @ 07:17:00

        Creative goodness = creative angst. Hopefully there is more “goodness” and less “angst” visible in the finished product ;).

  16. Yelena
    Dec 16, 2014 @ 07:57:20

    OMG!!-)) Your Christmas tree is priceless! Love it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: