How my grandmother would have loved the internet

Hi All,

Steve's new camera view from over our deck

Steve’s new camera view from over our deck

I always remember my grandmother as a very strong and resourceful woman. As children we used to love visiting her house as she always had some new and most interesting thing for us to do and if she hadn’t gotten around to getting grandad to make us a small loom or some other craft, we always had a large box of the most interesting puzzles and homemade games to keep us amused. If we weren’t in the mood for a game or puzzle, we had their wonderful garden to explore or we could always push off in the bootle bumtrinket, a tiny little rowboat that we could explore the small island that was just off a point not too far from their home on the inlet. My grandmother was a most interesting person and it showed.

What do you have for tea when it is 37C inside the house and you really don't want to cook and heat it up even more? You cook good old fashioned Aussie sausage rolls on the bbq! ;)

What do you have for tea when it is 37C inside the house and you really don’t want to cook and heat it up even more? You cook good old fashioned Aussie sausage rolls on the bbq! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Steve took this lovely shot of some lichen on a branch at Hollybank

Steve took this lovely shot of some lichen on a branch at Hollybank

Another "Wait a minute while I take a photo!" moment...This is half a cooked artichoke that I am actually in the process of eating prior to being used as a hand model ;)

Another “Wait a minute while I take a photo!” moment…This is half a cooked artichoke that I am actually in the process of eating prior to being used as a hand model ๐Ÿ˜‰

We no longer dread taking down the decorations as our "Ikea flat pack tree" makes it such an easy process. It's now under the spare bed taking up NO room at all :)

We no longer dread taking down the decorations as our “Ikea flat pack tree” makes it such an easy process. It’s now under the spare bed taking up NO room at all ๐Ÿ™‚

She always had some kind of interesting thing that she was learning. She knew how to knit, to crochet, to tat and much more. She grew herbs in her garden and she was always learning as much as she could. I am sure that the local library gave her a gold card she used it that much. My grandparents werenโ€™t wealthy but they had a wealth of knowledge between them. Grandad was a carpenter and could make just about anything to do with wood and Grandma was one of the most resourceful women that I know.

Steve using some kind of "mode" on his new camera that makes things look extra teeny tiny from high up. All you tech heads probably know what this function is but whatever it is, it looks pretty shmick ;)

Steve using some kind of “mode” on his new camera that makes things look extra teeny tiny from high up. All you tech heads probably know what this function is but whatever it is, it looks pretty shmick ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lunch that consists of onion lightly sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, peas and beans and covered with water, brought up to the boil and some veggie stock powder added and then some ground brown rice flour. A most interesting and tasty lunch

Lunch that consists of onion lightly sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, peas and beans and covered with water, brought up to the boil and some veggie stock powder added and then some ground brown rice flour. A most interesting and tasty lunch reminiscent of polenta

A nice shot of moss from Hollybank

A nice shot of moss on an old dry stone wall atย Hollybank

A tiny (1.5cm) frog on raspberry leaves at our friends house the other day

A tiny (1.5cm) frog on raspberry leaves at our friends house the other day

I was hunting for information about natural dyes this morning and found this amazing link

http://maiwahandprints.blogspot.ca/p/guide-to-natural-dyes.html

Practically a whole library book of information available to moi, sitting here in my early morning fuggish haze tinged with excitement from my glorious find. Anything that I want to learn about is online. I just have to do a bit of sifting and hunting for the quality stuff. It is getting harder and harder to sift through as so much utter garbage is being shuffled about in the name of twitter, hash tags and links that donโ€™t actually lead anywhere but thatโ€™s the minefield that is the net. If you want quality information, you are just going to have to go out there and find it and thatโ€™s where I step in.

Bezial would like it to be known that he is NOT fat, he is big boned!

Bezial would like it to be known that he is NOT fat, he is big boned!

A Tasmanian trigger plant (Stylidium graminifolium) that Steve took a photo of with his new camera

A Tasmanian trigger plant (Stylidium graminifolium) that Steve took a photo of with his new camera

 

I love learning. I am also a penniless student hippy who lives a fair way away from the library. I adore the library and use it a lot (although not so much recently) but the internet allows me to hunt from my inner sanctum and save this information to my own little library of great happiness. As soon as I get interested in something (and lets face it, just about everything interests little old me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), I go hunting. My 3am starts are part RSS Feed Read and part โ€œlets just see where this will take meโ€ฆโ€ a most delightful way to find things out.

A lovely young Tasmanian fairy wren sunning himself early the other day when we walked the dogs in the park over the Batman bridge

A lovely young Tasmanian Superb fairy wren sunning himself early the other day when we walked the dogs in the park over the Batman bridge

Steve headed over to the Gorge restaurant site in order to see if he could get some nice pictures the other day when he was in the city doing the shopping. This male peacock was most insistent that he take his photo. Isn't he lovely?

Steve headed over to the Gorge restaurant site in order to see if he could get some nice pictures the other day when he was in the city doing the shopping. This male peacock was most insistent that he take his photo. Isn’t he lovely?

My grandmother would have adored the internet. She would have immediately realised itโ€™s intrinsic value to her as a long standing magpie. Informationโ€ฆfor freeโ€ฆthat you didn’t have to drive to town to get? SCORE! Grandma didn’t drive and my grandad only had his motorbike license so they had to wait till mum drove them to town so the internet would have given my grandmother a degree of freedom that she couldn’t have thought was even possible. She would also have been able to keep in contact with her sisters and other family in the U.K. for free. OH what an amazing resource we have at our fingertips for pennies. My grandmother would have called me a โ€œlucky buggerโ€ and I am fully cognisant of just what a lucky bugger I am.

New Years day cocktails

New Years day cocktails. Enough fruit and veggies in this one to call it lunch! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hot days = cold beer and shandies

Hot days = cold beer and shandies in our redneck drinking mugs ๐Ÿ˜‰

Me sorting through my beer bottle caps that I have been collecting for a year

Me sorting through my beer bottle caps that I have been collecting for a year

(do you see what I have to put up with! ;) )

(do you see what I have to put up with! Apparently this is motion blur and focal points ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Getting jiggy with the hammer and flattening out the remaining beer bottle caps to turn them into teeny tiny alcoholic bunting for Stevie-boys music room

Getting jiggy with the hammer and flattening out the remaining beer bottle caps to turn them into teeny tiny alcoholic bunting for Stevie-boys music room

We have been very busy little beavers this week. ย On New Years Eve I stayed up and both Stevie-boy and I welcomed in the New Year for once. We had a little basket with coal (that my mum had given me on her last Christmas here, I must have been naughty! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), bread and money in it and as Steve is naturally dark haired, he had to walk in to the doors (both opened up to let out the bad and let the good in) and receive the basket. By the sound of it, we were the only ones in Sidmouth up at 12 to see in the New Year. NO idea why we did this aside from sticking with someone elseโ€™s tradition and then we popped a cheap bottle of peach flavoured passion pop that Steve picked up as he thought that I wouldn’t stay awake for 12 and we wouldn’t need it. OH how wrong he was! It was pretty much undrinkable so we had a sip each, grimaced and then went to bed.

My prototype drop spindle until Steve can get around to making me a Turkish drop spindle

My prototype drop spindle until Steve can get around to making me a Turkish drop spindle

Gorgeous caramel coloured alpaca fleece for spinning on the drop spindle

Gorgeous caramel coloured alpaca fleece for spinning on the drop spindle

Even lovelier kid alpaca silvery grey/white fleece for spinning

Even lovelier kid alpaca silvery grey/white fleece for spinning

Steve has been taking SO many photos since he got his new (baby) camera. Here you can see me attempting to eat breakfast whilst being coerced into being a "model" for his practice ;)

Steve has been taking SO many photos since he got his new (baby) camera. Here you can see me attempting to eat breakfast whilst being coerced into being a “model” for his practice ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Years Day arrived and we decided to spend it crafting. I hammered out bottle caps to make beer bottle bunting and a beer bottle lamp shade for Stevie-boys music room and researched how to nailbind. Nailbinding is an ancient Nordic craft that preceded knitting and crochet that the Vikings used to make clothing. It involves using a โ€œnalโ€ or a kind of long needle made out of bone or wood. Steve knocked me up a โ€œnalโ€ and I am ready to go once I start spinning my alpaca woolโ€ฆalpaca wool?! Yes, Stewart and Kelsey came out and gifted me 2 enormous garbage bags of the most beautiful caramel and silvery white alpaca fleece for me to learn how to spin on. Stevie-boy had made me a drop spindle and they were out hunting for more wool for Kelsey as she is learning to spin on a drop spindle as well and thought that they might get me some as well. MUCHO happy guys :).ย  Now I just need to find the time to get started!

It always looks like Steve is doing all of the work around here but someone has to duck away to take the photos! ;)

It always looks like Steve is doing all of the work around here but someone has to duck away to take the photos! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After hauling the 2 long sections of garden bed up the hill and into Sanctuary we hammered small star picket stakes into the ground in front of the bed to keep it in place when we loaded it up with soil

After hauling the 2 long sections of garden bed up the hill and into Sanctuary we hammered small star picket stakes into the ground in front of the bed to keep it in place when we loaded it up with soil

Looking back from the mountain of manure and oak leaves to the site where the new garden bed was being built

Looking back from the mountain of manure and oak leaves to the site where the new garden bed was being built

We then decided to create the next 2 gardens from the great and mighty mountain of aged horse poo and rotted oak leaves. Steve and I cobbled together ย a garden bed out of old half rounds that we had found on the property and bits of rubbish timber that we had been storing for โ€œa rainy dayโ€ (or a garden bed ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). We then used it as a sort of terrace in Sanctuary. Steve headed off to do the shopping on Monday and I shoveled the second of the two new garden beds into place. We had generated some โ€œcharโ€ in a recent burn off of branches (after we cut off any usable wood). I wouldn’t call it โ€œbiocharโ€ as it wasn’t produced properly but most of the pile was charcoal so โ€œcharโ€ it is and I am sure it will be good for the garden so after it cooled down I hauled it up to Sanctuary in a wheelbarrow and tipped it onto the ground before I dug the second of the new beds.

My wheelbarrow of "char". Nothing gets wasted around here!

My wheelbarrow of “char”. Nothing gets wasted around here!

Earl "helping" in Sanctuary

Earl “helping” in Sanctuary

Earl helping some more...

Earl helping some more…

Steve noticed this really wonderful way to make a good water hand pump out of PVC pipe and a few easy to get hold of cheap items (to make the valves) on Facebook the other day. I will share it here with you all as you can never have enough hats, bags and good cheap water pumps!…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaho7JSVS1Iย 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG6own141z0&feature=youtube_gdata_playerย 

The first video shows you how to make the pump and the second one shows you how to make the one way valves. The pump can be used to pump water or air. I am going to make 4 of them, one for each limb ๐Ÿ˜‰

King Earl of the dung heap ;)

King Earl of the dung heap ๐Ÿ˜‰

The sweet potato cuttings that I got from our friend Jenny's house last Friday. I read that the best way to grow sweet potatoes was by cuttings.

The sweet potato cuttings that I got from our friend Jenny’s house last Friday. I read that the best way to grow sweet potatoes was by cuttings.

I am in awe at how quickly these roots grew. This was 3 days after I put them into some water in the kitchen and just before I planted them out

I am in awe at how quickly these roots grew. This was 3 days after I put them into some water in the kitchen and just before I planted them out

My new large bench and a potted up cucamelon for a friend

My new large bench and a potted up cucamelon for a friend

Yesterday Steve and I pruned our 7 little grape vines that I grew from cuttings from our muscat grape vine in the city. We researched how to do it and we staked them up so that next year we can start training them to grow on a trellis. Steve made me a lovely big bench to use in Sanctuary and then knocked up another one because I said that I could carry the bench around with me and sit down and water (and Don Burke thought that HE was the lazy gardener! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and now I donโ€™t even have to lug the bench around :). It got pretty hot then so we hunkered down inside and spent the rest of the day relaxing. Today has been spent out in the garden potting up my 10 long suffering artichoke babies that desperately needed moving to bigger pots to grow on before I plant them out in the main garden. I also planted out my cucamelon/mouse melon (Melothria scabra) ย babies (and potted one up to give to a friend). I was sent the seed by the wonderful Bev from Foodnstuff on the mainland after lamenting that I would never find the seed here in Tasmania. I then found out that my son was growing cucamelons as well. When asking him where he got his seed he said “Bunnings”…oh well! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had 19 of them germinate and gave 8 of them away so I have 11 left. That was my mathematics lesson for the day folks! (Did I pass?) If you would like to know more about this most interesting of fruits/vegetables (one of the two ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) here is an interesting link that also contains a recipe for how to preserve them…

http://homegrown-revolution.co.uk/savoury-fruit/growing-cucamelons/

The top new garden planted out with potatoes that had gone to seed and sweet potato cuttings (that you can't see but that are already growing leaves :) )

The top new garden planted out with potatoes that had gone to seed and sweet potato cuttings (that you can’t see but that are already growing leaves ๐Ÿ™‚ )

The new garden bed planted out with all kinds of seedlings from the glasshouse. I have since added basil and bergamot seedlings to the mix.

The new garden bed planted out with all kinds of seedlings from the glasshouse. I have since added basil and bergamot seedlings to the mix.

The second new garden bed is very long. I didn't have enough manure/oak leaf mix to fill it all so the last bit is now my new compost heap where I will create my own soil for another garden. I love the possibilities of gardening :)

The second new garden bed is very long. I didn’t have enough manure/oak leaf mix to fill it all so the last bit is now my new compost heap where I will create my own soil for another garden. I love the possibilities of gardening ๐Ÿ™‚

I also planted out basil, bergamot and some chilliโ€™s that had been languishing in with the artichokes as now we have room to plant them. I had already planted out eggplants, tomatoes, tomatillos and capsicum plants. I am not really bothered that itโ€™s a bit late for them, I just didn’t want to waste them in the glasshouse and now they at least have a chance to grow out in the sunshine. Steve and I often walk our dogs over in Beaconsfield, a small town aboutย  10 minutes away from here and on one of our walks we noticed an old cast iron bath out the back of the local council buildings. We kept seeing it on our walks and so I decided to phone up council and ask if we could have it. I got a phone call back today to say that I could pick it up whenever I wanted it and so Sanctuary is just about to get a nice pond. I have been lusting after a bath ever since Bev from the amazingly informative permaculture blog โ€œFoodnstuffโ€ posted about storing water in the garden in non-conventional (and cheap) waysโ€ฆ

https://foodnstuff.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/storing-water-for-the-garden/

Can you see one of your baby pepino's in the jungle that is Sanctuary Bev? ;)

Can you see one of your baby pepino’s in the jungle that is Sanctuary Bev? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Towering 8ft tall Jerusalem artichokes dwarfing rhubarb that has gone to seed and raspberries in a compost heap

Towering 8ft tall Jerusalem artichokes dwarfing rhubarb that has gone to seed and raspberries in a compost heap

Potted up artichoke babies and one of the chaotic garden beds that forms the bulk of Sanctuary

Potted up artichoke babies and one of the chaotic garden beds that forms the bulk of Sanctuary

My little tiny loquat seedlings that I dug up from the road verge last year are growing like crazy now that I have planted them out inside the new dog compound. Nothing touches them and the fruit is delicious :)

My little tiny loquat seedlings that I dug up from the road verge last year are growing like crazy now that I have planted them out inside the new dog compound. Nothing touches them and the fruit is delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

Cucamelons ready to plant out

Cucamelons ready to plant out

The new cucamelon enclosure. Apparently they can grow to 3 metres high so maybe I should have planned a bit better but they are over in the top of Sanctuary where not much else exists so if they want to invade Poland they can knock themselves out ;)

The new cucamelon enclosure. Apparently they can grow to 3 metres high so maybe I should have planned a bit better but they are over in the top of Sanctuary where not much else exists so if they want to invade Poland they can knock themselves out ๐Ÿ˜‰

A regular sweet cherry and a sour cherry that our friend Jenny gave to us. She can't plant them on her property as the possums would simply hoover them down. Now that we have an Earl protected (at all hours of the day) inner sanctum compound, these cherries should grow and flourish free from possum invasion

A regular sweet cherry and a sour cherry that our friend Jenny gave to us. She can’t plant them on her property as the possums would simply hoover them down. Now that we have an Earl protected (at all hours of the day) inner sanctum compound, these cherries should grow and flourish free from possum invasion

So we have been busy as beavers here in sunny Sidmouth on Serendipity Farm. Hopefully you have all had a most excellent first week of the new year. We have certainly started out as we mean to finish up. I have even been writing things in my new day to day diary to make sure that I donโ€™t forget things (that probably wonโ€™t even last till February but whatchagonnadoeh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I am tired but in a good way and very excited by all of the different things that we are contemplating this year. Have a great week everyone until we get together again next Wednesday to have a chat and a cuppa and catch up where we left off ๐Ÿ™‚

Earl had a hard night on the bottle ;)

Earl had a hard night on the bottle ๐Ÿ˜‰

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50 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kaye Wheeler
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 16:34:04

    Fab post, Fran. I loved reading about Mr and Mrs B. They were such lovely folks. I didn’t know your granddad didn’t drive. Yes, Mrs B would surely have loved the internet. I could just see her right into Garage Band – and just imagine what fun she would have had with Pinterest.

    Reply

  2. cathyandchucky
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 16:36:42

    Narf with a Nal! Watch out! I used to love grandmas craft boxes. We never could be bored. We were either pasting flour glued paper on carboard boxes for dolls houses, playing the piano, swimming, boating, counting buttons, playing dress ups, baking, playing Goon show records on the old gramaphone. Such fun. I reckon Gran would be a right devil on skype etc ๐Ÿ˜„

    Reply

  3. thecontentedcrafter
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 18:21:15

    Heavens to Murgatroyd, are we a week into the new year already? We’ll all be holding hands and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ before we know it! I’d better get another post written, I had promised myself to attempt for one a week – fail already! Just as well I don’t do resolutions ๐Ÿ˜€

    The Gran sounds my kind of woman – having all that ‘doing stuff’ around for the young ‘uns – you were most fortunate to have that influence in your life! I think it can give you a sense of creativity and productivity that is never lost.

    The farm is looking impressive – every week something new is achieved and some new plant announced – your productivity is amazing. I was hoping for an arty shot of you sitting and watering, but perhaps that is still to come? Stevie-boy is doing so well with his camera.

    My house in Wellington was surrounded by bush and we had tiny little tree frogs that would hop along the deck or fall off the rafters onto the deck constantly – they were the sweetest little things. I made them a little pond and we had a gazillion tadpoles!

    I included some bottle caps in your package it should be with you sooner or later.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 07, 2015 @ 18:33:22

      I am blissfully awaiting that wonderful package of bunty happiness Ms Pauline and am most grateful to you, and to everyone else who has contributed. Most of them are indoor bunt’s but they can go on the wall in my new craft room. Stevie-boy will be most happy with the new bottle caps to add to his bunting collection (which I will share when I actually finish it ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I am only posting once a week because I am now in the habit of it. For the first year and a bit I posted daily! Aren’t you glad you didn’t follow me then? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I love the idea of teeny frogs everywhere. I moved that container of cucamelons and uncovered my own little frog that when I picked him up to move him, promptly had a panic attack and wee’d on my hand…oh well…some people get lovely sweet frogs with ponds and tadpoles and some people get frog wee ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have some big plans to expand Sanctuary in the future but I am keeping them secret from Stevie-boy at the moment as he has just gotten over the conniptions that he had putting up Mark 1 ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ignorance is bliss!

      Reply

      • thecontentedcrafter
        Jan 07, 2015 @ 18:53:53

        I hope you will show the new craft room when it is bunted up – and the garden ones too if it works out. Mine can be in or out ๐Ÿ™‚

        I hope you are planning on introducing Mark II gently to Stevie-boy….. we really don’t want our star mover and shaker and wood creator having too many conniptions you know. xoxo

      • narf77
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 04:28:48

        ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. The Twisted Yarn
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 21:21:13

    Your grandmother sounds like the sort of relative that everyone should have: inspiring, knowledgeable, and slightly mischievous. Grandmothers like this should be available to hire for a reasonable fee, for those of us without one. And yes, it does sound as though Google (and Ravelry) would have been her friend.

    Meanwhile, it’s lovely as always to glimpse into your peaceful, sunny world at Serendipity Farm. Thank you for happy words and pictures.

    Reply

  5. mommermom
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 02:50:16

    I just love reading your delightful and chatty posts! You keep me chuckling and entertained and I do so appreciate it๐Ÿ˜ƒ. If that is what posting weekly can do for a blogger perhaps I should consider giving it a try. I am so happy to have become a blogging friend. I look forward to your next post!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 04:32:07

      At the moment it’s the growing season around here and chaos ensues Ms Mommermom. I was determined to “do” things this year and not waste any more time contemplating my navel so anything new that catches my eye is most likely to get given a go this year. I have been blogging for 3 years now and for the first year I blogged daily! I really don’t know how I didn’t burn out (or lose every reader that I had ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Thank you for becoming a blogging friend and here’s to mutual admiration this year. You are just about to jump into some serious renovation over there so fingers crossed it all goes very smoothly and quickly and you are back to baking in no time ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

      • mommermom
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 04:59:39

        Thank you! I need to dust off my ” healthy” recipes before I do any more baking! Ouch. … my jeans are a bit too snug. I look so forward to your adventures in 2015!!

      • narf77
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 08:18:04

        Ditto on the snug jeans. I was even stupid enough to throw my bigger ones out! Now I HAVE to lose weight or go naked ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Littlesundog
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 04:58:56

    I have decided Earl would be a real help around here during sweet potato digging season! Unless of course, he EATS what he digs! With Steve’s candid shots we are seeing a lot more of you which I feel is a GOOD thing! Aren’t grandmothers wonderful? My dad’s mother was a sports fan. Every sport. She knew every player of every sport and was like the archives of a computer with sports statistics. If she had access to the many sports channels on TV and internet access to all things sports, she would have been happy as a clam. I can’t imagine, as long as my grandparents have been gone, what returning to today’s times would be like for them.

    I have to look up half of the plants (vegetables and fruits) you write about. I’ve never heard of most of them! I’m always learning something new here… it’s like going to school twice a week. I’m SO glad there are no pop quizzes!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 08:17:29

      I am an avid plant hunter and love interesting edible plants in particular. I want to plant our 4 acres out with all kinds of interesting edible plants. I think our grandmothers have a lot of influence on how we turn out (aside from genetically ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Our parents tend to be very busy when we are kids but our grandparents tend to have a bit more time. The time that we spend with them is usually more interesting. Earl volunteers to dig up all of your vegetables if you would like. He has been practicing on mine! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

  7. christiglover
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 05:53:04

    Aloha Fran! That alpaca wool is gorgeous. We had angora from our goats (plucked and brushed it out) and gave it to local spinners and weavers, but they had to wash it. Full of debris ETC. A guy down the road did alpacas, and sheered it and sold it. I look forward to your spinning stories. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is amazing the difference in the pictures with Steve’s new camera! It’s like my eyes see clearer or something when I see the images. That frog! We have millions of coqui frogs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coqu%C3%AD that sing out every night. They sound like this: “Her feet? Her FEET?” lol

    Your garden is amazing. Love you, sista! xo

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 08:25:42

      I remember that angora wool and how you found someone who wanted it :). Some of the photos are with his new lens that he got for Christmas on his Canon. It is a great lens for close up photography (so that we can all pretend that we don’t need glasses ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Your little frogs look a lot like the little guy that I had to relocate from our glasshouse yesterday when I was potting up my cucamelons. He didn’t want to move and then pee’d on my hand when I picked him up ;). The glasshouse is like frog heaven. Lots of containers filled with water to keep up the humidity and a lovely humid damp atmosphere. He must think he is in the tropical rainforest with our recent heatwaves. Our garden is evolving. As they say, “If you want to make an omelette, first you have to break some eggs”. And we are at the egg breaking stage still but one day, it will be wonderful :). Big hugs and aloha’s right back atcha Ms Christi my sista from another mother ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

  8. Chica Andaluza
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 08:34:09

    I think we must have had the same grandparents (or from the same generation at least!). Neither of them drove either. They had drawers full of “stuff” that they wouldn’t throw away (string, bits of card, paper, pens etc) as it would be useful one day. They called it make do and mend – now we call it recycling – and they taught me so much and fired up so many passions in me…just like yours! I would like to think like Bezial that I am big boned too ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply

  9. Fefe Noir aka Susie Taylor
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 09:53:18

    All that sunshine. I can’t take it. The weather is so cold here all we are growing is oat grass for the cats. I have to keep that under a heat lamp!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 09:58:44

      Hot hot HOT here…raining at the moment and I am thinking I might run around naked out in the rain after finding the closest thing to woad that I can rub all over myself in primal joy but I fear the neighbour might not be able to take all of that wobbling flesh and might call the cops. There are worse things than a night in a cell for a middle aged naked woman covered in woad, but at the moment I can’t think of any! Keep that cat grass growing. Those little tufts of green are doing more for your psyche than for the cat, believe me!

      Reply

  10. Robbie
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 10:28:31

    I have to say-first- that I laughed aloud when I read , “Bezial would like it to be known that he is NOT fat, he is big boned!” LOL!!!! He is sensitive:-) too funny!
    Pictures are amazing with the new camera + how neat to see your world up close + far away + narrowed-lol:-)
    Your grandmother sounds amazing! You were very blessed to have a grandmother that you had the opportunity to visit-wonderful memories:-)
    I hope we can be the kind of grandparents you had…that is my dream. My husband ( Don) + I were chatting about that the other day. My mother turns 80 today + my husband’s mother passed away when she was 53….
    We decided our goal in life now should be to “be” the kind of grandparents you described yours to be!
    It is the “time” you spend not the amount of money. My oldest daughter is having twins in April( boy and girl-she lives in Stockholm)plus their brother will turn 3 when they are born. I won’t have the time with them, I want….but I can keep connected through the internet-thank goodness. My only other grandchild is right down the street ( 19 months)…He loves to be in the garden and helps me compost…I am eager to make memories- like you had with your grandparents:-)
    I have no doubt your grandmother would of enjoyed the internet….
    Your place looks HUGE…all that space, no wonder you are exhausted-that is a lot of work-amazing stuff you are doing! How many acres do you have?-it looks endless…how do you do it all????You will deserve some resting when it slows down, but you can grow year round. I actually do get to rest, for it is below zero today, schools are closed -30 wind chills! Nothing is moving out there right now!
    When you become grandparents you both will be the MOST AMAZING grandparents in the world, for ALL the things you do from creating to growing, wow…your days are filled with so much fun-I would like to be your grandchild..to hang out at your house for the summer!
    But since I am too old, I’ll take the cocktail-YUM!!!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 10:39:16

      I really do think that my grandparents, and in particular, my grandmother, gave my sibling and I a peculiar slant on the world. A sort of hands on need to take things apart, see how they worked and then mutate the heck out of them to make them (not always) better ;). Seriously, we had the best childhood which was a good foil as my parents relationship was crumbling and they were divorced when I was 10. No-one else at my school had parents who were divorced. I felt very alienated BUT I always had something to read, to do, to learn and to think about at my grandparents house so I think that went a whole way towards easing us all through that trying time. I want to be as “interesting” to my grandkids as my grandmother was to me. I want to teach them all kinds of things (including how to be bolshie and sock it to “the man”!) I want to teach my grand children to explore, to look at things from both sides and to ask a whole lot of questions. Always question…that’s how you find out! I had 3 of those cocktails just to make sure that the first one wasn’t a fluke ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

      • Robbie
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:03:30

        Well, Fran you will be all that and some!!!
        You are interesting here to everyone in the blog world + you have one of the best things a grandparent /parent can give a child “an insatiable desire for knowledge” + I would say that goes with your 3am quests! lol
        I doubt you will ever be satisfied!
        To bad you can’t pass virtual cocktails across the internet!!! I love garlic stuffed olives…hmmm..one in those and I would be having more than 3-lol

      • narf77
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:15:36

        What the heck, Stevie-boy can add the garlic stuffed (rather than the pimento stuffed) olives to the mix and instead of a “legless frog” it will be more accurate as the French ADORE their garlic ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Robbie
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 14:16:54

        just don’t kiss anyone after you drink a few of those with stuffed garlic olives-lol. I have some in my fridge-yum!
        I just know anything you make is AMAZING!

      • narf77
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 15:03:21

        I used to be a cook back in the day so I know my way around a pot or two ;). It’s hard to make fussy boots Stevie-boy swoon over food. He thinks it is just something you shove into your mouth to stop your stomach complaining. I, however, adore food and all of it’s heady aromatic delights (thus Steve is thin and I am…er…”big boned” ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Someone who loves food could never do it a disservice and cook it badly ;). Steve is king of the booze around here. He invented that cocktail. I just kept heaping it up with fruit to counterbalance all of the rum that went into it! I wanted to survive New Years Day ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Robbie
        Jan 08, 2015 @ 15:38:02

        You don’t look big boned:-) Guys can eat a lot and don’t ever show any gain-why is that???So not fair. I am off to bed here in the USA. It is 10:30 pm and I am off to read and go to sleep soon. You have a great day- I bet you are enjoying your day right now + it is warm….very cold here–wind chills in the negatives…but spring is around the corner:-) not too long-Night Fran:-) Great post today!

      • narf77
        Jan 09, 2015 @ 03:12:20

        Nighty night Robbie, you are right, it won’t be long till Autumn and this year, I plant out all of my nut trees (that I grew from seed) in Autumn ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. brymnsons
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:23:15

    I’ll have none of this fatty talk about poor sweet Bezial (you can just hear the sweetness dripping ๐Ÿ™‚ ) Us big boned peoples (and Bezial thinks he’s a “people”) have to be thick skinned too.
    Sanctuary is looking amazing Fran. Poor old Stevie boy is going to be twitching once you let the cat out of the bag about your expansion plan! Lol.
    I only had my Nanna for a short time (about 7 years) but I have fond memories of her cooking, lemonade spiders and chooks. The chooks were for eggs of course, but she would also cut their heads off, this is very clear in my mind(read trauma!), put them in hot water and then pluck them… I can still remember that smell, be very pleased to never smell it again. I admire her tenacity, especially when I think she came from a very well to do family and had to learn all this. She could also sew, knit, crochet and tat. Phew! Our Grand Parents were amazing hey ๐Ÿ™‚
    The alpaca wool looks lovely, I can’t wait to see how you go with spinning. I have heard it’s all about timing??? Good luck, you are an inspiration!!
    The photos are certainly looking crisp and interesting. I think you should have a photo blog Stevie boy ๐Ÿ™‚
    We have been doing up the last two bedrooms. Painting and putting in wooden floors. It’s amazing how fabulous a lick of paint and new flooring can be. They look fabulous darrrrrling. We are going to rent them out to some uni students, well that’s the plan Stan…
    Off to Melbourne next week, don’t suppose you could just pop over??? We could have a lovely long chat ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 12:07:52

      Post Christmas popping would be lovely but not at the moment. Have a great time in the big smoke :). Stevie boy loves all of the attention that his lovely new photographs are bringing in but I don’t think that he will ever be happy with them ;). Bezial might be big boned but he isn’t feeling the heat at all where poor skinny hipped no fur Earl is panting like there is no tomorrow! Weird as you would think that he was conditioned to like the heat coming from South Australia and all! I will let you know when I eventually get that spinning (started) sorted out. I am suffering from post Christmas withdrawal at the moment and it’s lovely just slothing around doing sweet bugger all today as it’s raining. Lovely stuff :). Again, have fun in Melbourne and take lots of photos and then you can blog about it and it will be almost like I was there ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  12. Jo
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 11:57:42

    Oh, your garden is looking so exciting, with new treasures popping up every day. I’m sure your gran would have loved to visit you have you show her around your garden. I’m sure she would have been very proud! Am hoping this comment will work – wordpress has eaten the last few…:(

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 14:49:53

      I just “unspammed” you. I get the same thing going to a blogger site. Some of them I just have to click “verify that you aren’t a robot” and then click “WordPress” and “theroadtoserendipity” (a whole lot of phaffing around but some of you guys are worth it ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but some of them I actually have to log out of google (for some crazy reason) then log into WordPress and then comment (with all of the usual captcha bampf hoops to jump through) and then log back out and into google again. Crazy stuff! You are back! Let me know if you ever want anything that I am growing. I am extra able to share the love with good friends ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  13. aFrankAngle
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 12:36:58

    i get tired thinking of all the work the two of you do … whew! … With that thought, I’ve got the feeling your grandmother would be proud of your resourcefulness. I’m looking forward to seeing pics of the music room’s bottle-cap wall.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 15:01:10

      Steve thinks that he needs another one to balance out the first one and thus he needs to start drinking more expensive imported beer…man’s logic ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

  14. quarteracrelifestyle
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 06:33:09

    Good score on the bath/pond!! If you don’t ask you don’t get ay, good on you ๐Ÿ™‚ Steve’s photography is great, love that wee frog. I get the impression Steve might be “a bit” like Roger, hobbies become obsessions that we have to discuss all the time! We talk golf alot, I HATE golf!
    Spinning sounds a good thing to learn, oooh, all that beautiful soft wool! I have never thought I had the patience for it but love the idea, along with natural dying of course, when you see the range of gorgeous, vibrant colours you can get from plants…!
    Garden is looking/sounding great Fran.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 07:39:49

      LOL, lucky I can use his images in my blog posts (I have enough now to last me all 2015 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and VERY glad that Steve isn’t into golf as I HATE golf as well ;). Jessie, (rabid) just bought herself a gorgeous spinning wheel. I am DEAD jealous but funds are low at the moment so no spinning wheel for me and besides, who knows if I am going to love it or not. I no longer buy everything to do with something that I am interested in unless I am REALLY going to stick with it and love it. Cheers for the garden comment. It’s (the garden) looking very wet and wild at the moment as we have to get up there and whipper snip it into tame tidiness. Poor Bezial keeps picking up leeches whenever he goes inside but so far (touch wood) I have remained leech free. I love going up there now as it is SO full of things/possibilities and everything is exciting me ๐Ÿ™‚ I might hate summer heat but I love the growing season and am in the process of planting some macadamia nuts (fresh ones) at the moment to see if I can’t grow some macadamia babies for Serendipity Farm. I LOVE plants! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  15. Linne
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 16:23:20

    Nalbinding is fascinating! I found this site quite a while back; she’s great!
    http://vikingladyaine.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/nalbinding-getting-started-with-the-oslo-stitch/
    Sanctuary is sure coming along, isn’t it? I can hardly wait to see what it yields this year . . .

    Your grandparents sound amazing; you are so lucky to have had a grandmother close enough to visit lots, and one who was so good at providing things to do and also at stimulating your wee mind (well, hope you know what I mean: your mind when you were wee, not that you have ever had a ‘wee mind’ lol)

    I’ve got the idea for your garden bunting nearly finessed; but with the move coming up so soon and lots of other stuff I’m not going into, I may not be able to start until February or so. I promise to include a few bottle caps for Stevie-boy’s wall, too. Best get drinking, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

    That iron bath! you have no idea how much I lust after one, but not for the garden; for me to bathe in (although if I set it up in a garden and attached copper piping to a small wood-burning apparatus, I could bathe outdoors. First I’d have to plant some really thick bushes, though. I, too, am ‘big-boned’, very much so still, and I doubt even woad would improve the view should a passer-by happen along at the most inopportune time . . .

    Spinning, eh? I took lessons ages ago (aeons, really). I began learning with a knitting needle shoved up through the centre of a fairly round smallish potato. Works like a dream! Mum has a wheel, which she used quite a bit before I moved up here. Her grandmother had one, too, also well used (yarn for mitts, socks, etc. for the ten kids in Mum’s family as well as all the rest), but it ended up as a plant stand in a distant cousin’s living room. I try not to think about it . . .

    When I finally get to go through my stuff, I know I have a multi-page document on natural dyeplants and I will email you (and rabid) a copy. It’s great. I used a couple of simple things way back when, but never had the place to do what I would have liked.

    Lovely post as usual, my friend. I’ve probably missed a few things, but I did read it straight through. I so look forward to Wednesdays (or later if time doesn’t allow).

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 16:45:57

      We are flat out like lizards drinking here in the garden. I just potted up 12 fresh macadamia seeds in the hope that I might get some to germinate. How awesome to have macadamia nuts on Serendipity Farm! I also discovered something called an Australian Almond that has a taste between a macadamia nut and a coconut! How come I haven’t ever heard of this before eh? The bath has seen a bit of a hard life by the look of it. It’s water tight but the rim has a few cracks. I don’t care, it’s only for holding water and azola for Sanctuary and acting as somewhere for the frogs to practice scuba diving. I will remember your idea should I ever decide to start bathing outside but I would look more like a big old alligator rising up out of the green slime if it’s a permanent fixture in Sanctuary ;). Fingers crossed that your move is as easy as it can be. I loved reading about your mum and your grandma’s spinning wheels. I lust after one but finances are not pointing at one in the immediate future so I will shelve that lust and throw it into something that I can achieve like planting more plants. I will keep posting blog posts on Wednesday, just as long as there are people who enjoy reading them ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love a scan of that dyeing document if you turn it up, sounds awesome :). Have a great week or so till we can catch up again Linne and look after yourself and your mum and aunt in that cold ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  16. Namita
    Jan 10, 2015 @ 03:46:12

    Hello Fran, What a lovely write up and a rightful tribute to your grandmother. Felt so nice reading about her. My grandmother also led a difficult life and was very resourceful. She lived in the remote hills and was married off very young. She led a spartan life. Your write up brought back her memories and stories about her passed down to us by our dad. Thanks Fran!
    What a lovely tiny frog and the wren sitting in the Sun. And the graceful dancing peacock. Don’t these creatures make the world special?
    This post is also a visual treat because of Steve’s lovely clicks. I loved the shot of Lichen. So many interseting things happening at your end Fran. feel like running away from the fog and cold here and landing up at your farm. Wish it was possible!
    Love and regards!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 11, 2015 @ 05:35:33

      I think that all of our grandmothers had a much more difficult life than we do. Mine traveled halfway around the world for the chance to have a new and better life. I am glad that you thought about your grandmother Namita, they were all very special people :). Being able to see and photograph some of the beautiful animals on earth is a most magnificent privilege isn’t it? Steve is really enjoying discovering more in depth photography with his new camera. The fog and cold won’t last forever and I am sure it is quite beautiful (that fog anyway ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) where you live. It’s a great chance to rug up and eat delicious hot comfort foods and that magnificent bread that you make would be very appreciated right about now by your lovely family :). Hugs from sunny Sidmouth ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

  17. Margaret Griffin
    Jan 11, 2015 @ 15:27:39

    Hi Fran, I hope you have not had damaging winds in Sidmouth during the past week and your food garden is unharmed. I have just spent a couple of days in Melbourne and some of the trees in the Eastern suburbs were looking very sorry after recent wild weather.

    Cherries – good luck with them and their ‘sensitive’ fruiting requirements. I was recently presented with a jar of cherry and red currant jam – not bad, not bad at all.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 11, 2015 @ 15:37:43

      We are regularly subject to degrees of wind here and most of the trees here are well versed in surviving a strong gale. We already have a poor suffering sour cherry tree that the possums and pear and cherry slug tag team in order to try to knock it off each year but it keeps on keeping on. People might not realise that cherries are very hardy things and grow very fast if given reasonable conditions. This is cherry growing country (lots of them around here along with vineyards and apple and other stonefruit orchards) so fingers crossed the conditions are right for them (and the possums can be deterred by sergeant Earl! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Reply

  18. Yelena
    Jan 13, 2015 @ 09:59:17

    I guess we both thinking about our grandmothers lately-))
    You are so good with your garden, I admire that very much, I don’t have a thing for gardening, but I hope maybe later in life I will find a joy growing vegetables. Although, I have two red currant bushes in my backyard and a pear tree-))

    Thank you for your lovely comment today on my blog!

    Hugs,

    Yelena

    Reply

  19. cityhippyfarmgirl
    Jan 14, 2015 @ 15:06:44

    I’m lucky enough to have both of my Grandmothers still in good form. One has embraced the internet and the other couldn’t give two hoots ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Garden looks gorgeous Narfy. Happy hanging out in all your green corners.

    Reply

  20. Sue Dreamwalker
    Jan 15, 2015 @ 06:46:47

    Phew!… I think I am totally exhausted now.. What a NEW Year start… I can see Stevie loved his new toy.. And what a great idea of those bottle tops.. I have saved a couple of your links to water pumps and the fabric dyeing ..
    And your drop spindle looks very professional looking to me.. ๐Ÿ™‚ I always remember when I was at infant school.. we had lots of farmers children in our village school.. Who had sheep..
    So our teacher thought it a good idea to teach us about spinning.. we carded the wool first after washing it.. and then all tried our had at drop spinning it..
    I can see how hard both of you have been working..
    And right now I have a glass of Guinness at my side.. LOL… Chilling…
    And I can see how Earl likes to join in both the hard work and the chilling… LOL.. Great photo with bottle..
    I expect that Bath is now filled with rain water? so hope so.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a great rest of the week Narf..
    Love and Hugs to you both.
    Sue โค

    Reply

  21. Born To Organize
    Jan 19, 2015 @ 07:05:59

    Earl with the bottle! LOL LOL LOL

    Are you still collecting bottle caps? Are you looking for beer only? I can’t wait to see the magic you weave.

    Reply

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