And now we are five…plus 45 more…

Hi All,

It’s official. Stevie-boy turned 50 on Tuesday. He celebrated his day by helping a friend make a patio and had a very rich pie that was 2 days in the making with pastry (pate brisee) that could kill a lesser man (a ratio of almost equal proportions flour to fat) and a deceptively simple looking “cake” that contained 600g of chocolate. I figure he thought if he was going to hit 50, he may as well do it in style. He says he doesn’t feel a day older and he doesn’t look it either so he’s quite happy with achieving his half century mark.

 

Luxury pie

Luxury 50th birthday pie

It's not pretty but apparently it tasted amazing. Lots left for post 50th birthday snarfing

It’s not pretty but apparently it tasted amazing. Lots left for post 50th birthday snarfing

Looks decievingly demure but this baby has 600g of chocolate and a lot of brandy hidden in this innocent exterior

Looks decievingly demure but this baby has 600g of chocolate and a lot of brandy hidden in this innocent exterior

Birthday booze. Cheers Stewart and Kelsey for the Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz :)

Birthday booze. Cheers Stewart and Kelsey for the Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz πŸ™‚

I had a request to post the recipes for the vegan brownies and the zucchini and lemon curd recipes from Yelana of the gorgeous food blog Cooking Melangery in a recent comment. Yelena shares food from her home country Russia but lives in the U.S. Her blog is amazing. Incredibly beautiful photography, wonderful recipes and Yelena herself is a wonderful person. I couldn’t resist! So here they are just for you Yelena πŸ™‚

http://www.theyummylife.com/Zucchini_Brownies

http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-cream-130433

Note you really don’t need the butter in the zucchini cream recipe but it does add an authentic “curd” texture and taste to the recipe

I may as well go whole hog and share a recipe from Amy’s amazing blog Fragrant Vanilla Cake that is vegan, contains both zucchini and lemons and is absolutely scrumptious. Everything that Amy makes is amazing. If you like healthy, delicious food, go and have a look at Amy’s amazing site

http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/vegan-zucchini-lemon-cake.html

It’s the middle of summer here in Australia and most of us are scratching our heads trying to work out what to do with zucchini’s so I thought that Yelena’s request might just be of benefit to some of you out there who are heartily sick of all things zucchini to find something else interesting to make with it.

This is one section of one of our insect hotels that I made a few years ago for our native insects. I checked it the other day and noticed that something is using it and that it is plugging up the holes with wattle leaves.

This is one section of one of our insect hotels that I made a few years ago for our native insects. I checked it the other day and noticed that something is using it and that it is plugging up the holes with wattle leaves.

Stewart and Kelsey came to visit on Saturday afternoon and brought me a few kilos of satsuma plums from their back yard tree. I decided to dehydrate them

Stewart and Kelsey came to visit on Saturday afternoon and brought me a few kilos of satsuma plums from their back yard tree. I decided to dehydrate them. First you stone and slice them

Then you load up your dehydrator sheets with slices

Then you load up your dehydrator sheets with slices

Once they are dehydrated you add them to your stash in the pantry. The plums are in the bottle on the left. The rest of these are dehydrated cherries

Once they are dehydrated you add them to your stash in the pantry. The plums are in the bottle on the left. The rest of these are dehydrated cherries

I often have serendipitous moments where something I have learned or researched suddenly pops into my head when I see something else. Today I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and noticed an article about a plant called Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). FINALLY I have a name for the plant that came up in the garden, all by itself and that keeps on keeping on no matter what. It moved into the “lawn” (along with the 2 blackwood saplings) and strutted it’s, not inconsiderable, stuff. It grew to almost 11 ft tall and I had a feeling that it was useful so rather than chop it down (or mow it…that’s what you are supposed to do with lawns isn’t it? πŸ˜‰ ) I let it go and now I dare say we are going to have a lovely mullein explosion on Serendipity Farm. I don’t care. I am in the process of letting my globe artichokes go to seed so that I can save some to share and sprinkle them all over the place. It’s the same thing that keeps me planting out little patches of Jerusalem artichokes in sheltered spots where the grazing wallabies can’t chew them down to the ground. I love food and herb plants that don’t need molly-coddling and that just get on with it in our long dry summers. Here’s an article about how valuable mullein is in our gardens…

http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/herb-to-know-mullein-verbascum-thapsus.aspx?PageId=1#axzz3Q3gqA8DR

The strawberry water wicked boat is keeping these strawberries nice and moist and they are all very happy that they migrated to the good ship strawberry. I even have some new fruit being produced.

The strawberry water wicked boat is keeping these strawberries nice and moist and they are all very happy that they migrated to the good ship strawberry. I even have some new fruit being produced.

It's a foolish man that lays on the floor when there are dogs around ;)

It’s a foolish man that lays on the floor when there are dogs around πŸ˜‰

This is what your hair looks like if you get your hair wet when you have a plait and you don't take the plait out for 2 days ;)

This is what your hair looks like if you get your hair wet when you have a plait and you don’t take the plait out for 2 days πŸ˜‰

Serendipity Farm from the deck this morning. Another glorious mild summers day 2015 :)

Serendipity Farm from the deck this morning. Another glorious mild summers day 2015 πŸ™‚

I was looking at Gumtree the other day and saw this ad for a spinning wheel for $100 in Launceston

I was looking at Gumtree the other day and saw this ad for a spinning wheel for $100 in Launceston

Look what now lives at narf's house :)

Look what now lives at narf’s house πŸ™‚ Thank you SO much Stewart and Kelsey for picking it up and bringing it out for me

I am learning to appreciate “weeds” for their tenacity as well as their actual uses. Spear thistles are not just there to spike me mercilessly whenever I attempt to go down to the second garden (obviously I want to have a mental breakdown…), blackberries have many uses that their thorny angst would bely. Most of our common weeds are European edibles that we just see as pests. I think it’s important to know that “weeds” can also tell you about your soil conditions and tend to be the fixer-upperers of the soil web. Nature knows what she is doing, it’s just us that keep wanting to interject with our obviously superior wisdom πŸ˜‰

 

Black radish flowers. Once they go to seed I will collect the seed. Note, these black radishes were very hot and spicy. If you like your radishes mild, these might not be a good variety for you to grow

Black radish flowers. Once they go to seed I will collect the seed. Note, these black radishes were very hot and spicy. If you like your radishes mild, these might not be a good variety for you to grow

It's a jungle of tomatoes in Sanctuary. Most of this mass tangle is tomatoes. I am going to have to learn how to prune tomatoes one of these days!

It’s a jungle of tomatoes in Sanctuary. Most of this mass tangle is tomatoes. I am going to have to learn how to prune tomatoes one of these days!

Curly kale and red Russian kale  babies that survived being planted at the wrong time and that haven't bolted to seed as I planted them in a shady spot. Fingers crossed I might get some kale!

Curly kale and red Russian kale babies that survived being planted at the wrong time and that haven’t bolted to seed as I planted them in a shady spot. Fingers crossed I might get some kale!

More mass tangle but at least it is green and most of it appears to be flowering and producing tomatoes

More mass tangle but at least it is green and most of it appears to be flowering and producing tomatoes

I found this tiny little tomato growing in among the strawberries in one of the pots that I transplanted into the strawberry boat so he got potted up with this chive plant for companionship. I am a champion of the underdog and even though it is probably WAY too late for this little tomato to be productive, who cares, he was tenacious so he gets to live :)

I found this tiny little tomato growing in among the strawberries in one of the pots that I transplanted into the strawberry boat so he got potted up with this chive plant for companionship. I am a champion of the underdog and even though it is probably WAY too late for this little tomato to be productive, who cares, he was tenacious so he gets to live πŸ™‚

My moringa's growing like topsy

My moringa’s growing like topsy

My cherimoyas enjoying the sunshine

My cherimoyas enjoying the sunshine

This is a King orchid. I never realised that it is an Australian native orchid but all I know is it was dad's "beer orchid" and he only ever watered it with the dregs from his cans of beer. We are going to mount it on the tree to the right of this image in sphagnum moss to make it happy

This is a King orchid. I never realised that it is an Australian native orchid but all I know is it was dad’s “beer orchid” and he only ever watered it with the dregs from his cans of beer. We are going to mount it on the tree to the right of this image in sphagnum moss to make it happy

This bit of the garden looks a bit more "normal" as veggie gardens go. Still chaotic but you can at least see a bit of variety. The pots of artichokes are growing really well now

This bit of the garden looks a bit more “normal” as veggie gardens go. Still chaotic but you can at least see a bit of variety. The pots of artichokes are growing really well now

It’s been a most wonderful week on Serendipity Farm. We had some rain and our temperatures are in the low to mid 20’s (celcius). Life has been very good to us in 2015. The rest of this blog post is going to be in comments. I hope you enjoy the garden and other images and can feel a bit of our lovely sunshiny summer in them. Have a scrumptious week. I am animating some sourdough starter that was sent to me by the amazing Ms Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (isn’t that a lovely name? πŸ™‚ ). Ms Celia’s sourdough is called Priscilla and we, the lucky recipients of little packets of Priscilla, were urged to incorporate something of her name in our new starters names. I decided that I wanted to take back sourdough baking in my kitchen this year. I have dabbled in sourdough before with very mixed results (vinegar brick loaves) so I needed a name for my new starter that was going to waylay my fears and give me a fearless attitude. I came up with Godscilla and hope that my starter lives up to it’s lofty name.

 

Some of the many sprays of tomatoes that my 2 San Marzano tomatoes are producing. Hopefully we get lots of ripe ones so that I can turn them into amazing sauce :)

Some of the many sprays of tomatoes that my 2 San Marzano tomatoes are producing. Hopefully we get lots of ripe ones so that I can turn them into amazing sauce πŸ™‚

My pepino's have had lots of flowers but haven't set any fruit this year. It can't be for lack of pollinators as there are bees all over them. Maybe they are a bit overwhelmed by the close proximity of the ever present tomato clan? Any ideas Bev?

My pepino’s have had lots of flowers but haven’t set any fruit this year. It can’t be for lack of pollinators as there are bees all over them. Maybe they are a bit overwhelmed by the close proximity of the ever present tomato clan? Any ideas Bev?

My 4 turmeric plants planted out into what was a horse manure pile last year. It is now amazingly black soil that retains moisture well. Hopefully the turmeric like it here

My 4 turmeric plants planted out into what was a horse manure pile last year. It is now amazingly black soil that retains moisture well. Hopefully the turmeric like it here

My poor long suffering cardamom plants finally got planted out. They are already starting to grow new leaves and I can almost hear them saying "thank GOODNESS!" ;)

My poor long suffering cardamom plants finally got planted out. They are already starting to grow new leaves and I can almost hear them saying “thank GOODNESS!” πŸ˜‰

One of the tomatillo babies that I planted out into the first of the new veggie gardens a few weeks ago. Everything is starting to take of in the new garden beds but the tomatillos are galloping away and some are even flowering. I will be most interested to see what they look like when they fruit.

One of the tomatillo babies that I planted out into the first of the new veggie gardens a few weeks ago. Everything is starting to take of in the new garden beds but the tomatillos are galloping away and some are even flowering. I will be most interested to see what they look like when they fruit.

These are my terracotta pots that I used to have cactus and succulents in. There are still a few in the pots but the pots have a new use, to stop the hose from invading the garden bed. They are doing a great job :)

These are my terracotta pots that I used to have cactus and succulents in. There are still a few in the pots but the pots have a new use, to stop the hose from invading the garden bed. They are doing a great job πŸ™‚

My cucamelons (aka mouse melons) have flowers! You can see the tiny fruit forming behind the flower

My cucamelons (aka mouse melons) have flowers! You can see the tiny fruit forming behind the flower

My pumpkins are fruiting all over the place. Without the possums chewing the fruit as they form it looks like I might get a lot of fruit this year :)

My pumpkins are fruiting all over the place. Without the possums chewing the fruit as they form it looks like I might get a lot of fruit this year πŸ™‚

The new red currant grape that we picked up from Bunnings the other day. I am saving up for a red finger lime now but that's a LOT more expensive than my little red currant grape ;)

The new red currant grape that we picked up from Bunnings the other day. I am saving up for a red finger lime now but that’s a LOT more expensive than my little red currant grape πŸ˜‰

A close up of one of my grown from cutting sweet potato vines

A close up of one of my grown from cutting sweet potato vines

That feathery green thing is an asparagus plant that was in one of my strawberry pots so it got transplanted out as well. Nothing goes to waste on Serendipity Farm :)

That feathery green thing is an asparagus plant that was in one of my strawberry pots so it got transplanted out as well. Nothing goes to waste on Serendipity Farm πŸ™‚

Looking down from the far back of Sanctuary. It looks a lot neater now we gave it a haircut ;)

Looking down from the far back of Sanctuary. It looks a lot neater now we gave it a haircut πŸ˜‰

 

I got this succulent from a friend that I met via a Facebook page I have just started to follow.

I got this succulent from a friend that I met via a Facebook page I have just started to follow.

She also gave me these amazingly HUGE figs and a promise that I can take some cuttings in winter. Aren't they gorgeous?

She also gave me these amazingly HUGE figs and a promise that I can take some cuttings in winter. Aren’t they gorgeous?

This is Shrek. I bought him when he was in a teeny tiny pot and he is one of the only succulents that the ducks weren't partial to so he lived to find a home in Sanctuary

This is Shrek. I bought him when he was in a teeny tiny pot and he is one of the only succulents that the ducks weren’t partial to so he lived to find a home in Sanctuary

The colour of the flower tends to be the colour of the potato under the ground. I am hoping these adventitious spuds that grew from the compost bucket are pink eyes :)

The colour of the flower tends to be the colour of the potato under the ground. I am hoping these adventitious spuds that grew from the compost bucket are pink eyes πŸ™‚

Myer lemon futures :)

Myer lemon futures πŸ™‚

A pot full of oca and very healthy leaves. I am going to have to work out a place to make them a garden bed but for now they are in a nice big pot and seem happy enough to grow there for the moment.

A pot full of oca and very healthy leaves. I am going to have to work out a place to make them a garden bed but for now they are in a nice big pot and seem happy enough to grow there for the moment.

Steve captured this native hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatum) beautifully. I tried about 20 times but every shot was blurry. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold em'! ;)

Steve captured this native hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatum) growing up next to the chook yardΒ beautifully. I tried about 20 times but every shot was blurry. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold em’! πŸ˜‰

Steve's new camera is giving him a lot of happiness. He is taking some seriously lovely photos with it.

Steve’s new camera is giving him a lot of happiness. He is taking some seriously lovely photos with it.

Like this one

Like this one

And this one. He did use a polarising filter with this one though

And this one. He did use a polarising filter with this one though

He took this photo from the small jetty at the boat ramp just down the road from us

He took this photo from the small jetty at the boat ramp just down the road from us

And this one of my ingenious ability to drink beer when I can't use my hands because they were sticky with cherry juice

And this one of my ingenious ability to drink beer when I can’t use my hands because they were sticky with cherry juice

And after a while, when your husband insists on taking "urban degradation" shots from every industrial area known to man you develop a stoic resilience and just smile and wave whenever you are told to ;)

And after a while, when your husband insists on taking “urban degradation” shots from every industrial area known to man you develop a stoic resilience and just smile and wave whenever you are told to πŸ˜‰

I was going to have this corner shower unit as a pond in Sanctuary but now that the strawberry wicking beds are doing so well, I might make it a water wicked bed for cranberries.

I was going to have this corner shower unit as a pond in Sanctuary but now that the strawberry wicking beds are doing so well, I might make it a water wicked bed for cranberries.

This is our walnut tree. This year we mulched underneath it with hay from Glad's place next door. It seems to be much happier than it usually is but then again, we have had a much milder season this year with a lot more rain so I can't be sure.

This is our walnut tree. This year we mulched underneath it with hay from Glad’s place next door. It seems to be much happier than it usually is but then again, we have had a much milder season this year with a lot more rain so I can’t be sure.

Walnut sap is incredibly full of bitter tannins. That doesn't stop the wallabies from stripping all of the leaves that they can reach from the ground. I think they must have cast iron stomachs!

Walnut sap is incredibly full of bitter tannins. That doesn’t stop the wallabies from stripping all of the leaves that they can reach from the ground. I think they must have cast iron stomachs!

These are some of the tea trees (Melaleuca alternifolia) at the front of our block. We have about an acre of them growing and a new friend on the "Fans of Grassroots Magazine" page that I am now following on Facebook has just told me how to extract tea tree oil from them if we ever choose to. I am learning SO much from that page! :)

These are some of the tea trees (Melaleuca alternifolia) at the front of our block. We have about an acre of them growing and a new friend on the “Fans of Grassroots Magazine” page that I am now following on Facebook has just told me how to extract tea tree oil from them if we ever choose to. I am learning SO much from that page! πŸ™‚

Earl (Mr Big Head) surveying his drive way

Earl (Mr Big Head) surveying his drive way

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum tee-hee!) are incredibly hardy and drought tolerant. This clump grows down the driveway and never gets watered. They pop up all over the place and unlike their unwanted friends the osteospermum (Margerita) daisies, I really like them :)

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum tee-hee!) are incredibly hardy and drought tolerant. This clump grows down the driveway and never gets watered. They pop up all over the place and unlike their unwanted friends the osteospermum (Margerita) daisies, I really like them πŸ™‚

Part of the jungle we call a "garden" at the front of the house on the side of the driveway. The canna lily is growing really well and I picked up a few more pots of them to add to the mix. I love anything that grows well with no water and that has pretty flowers and edible roots. It all adds up to a win-win situation for Serendipity Farm :)

Part of the jungle we call a “garden” at the front of the house on the side of the driveway. The canna lily is growing really well and I picked up a few more pots of them to add to the mix. I love anything that grows well with no water and that has pretty flowers and edible roots. It all adds up to a win-win situation for Serendipity Farm πŸ™‚

We still have green grass in the middle of summer! It has been a very mild summer this year and I love it! :)

We still have green grass in the middle of summer! It has been a very mild summer this year and I love it! πŸ™‚

Here's my little packet of Priscilla promise. She is an 8 year old starter that works like magic. I am hoping that she will rub off her glorious possibilities onto my hereto pathetic sourdough baking efforts on Serendipity Farm. Her new name is Godscilla and long may she reign in the kitchen! Wish me luck folks, I am going in! :)

Here’s my little packet of Priscilla promise. She is an 8 year old starter that works like magic. I am hoping that she will rub off her glorious possibilities onto my hereto pathetic sourdough baking efforts on Serendipity Farm. Her new name is Godscilla and long may she reign in the kitchen! Wish me luck folks, I am going in! πŸ™‚

And so we arrive at the end of another week on Serendipity Farm. So far, 2015 has been a glorious year and we have enjoyed it a lot. I will have hopefully had a go at spinning the alpaca fleece that I have sitting in my spare room by the next time we meet and I can show you what my efforts look like but I am not promising anything! Have a wonderful week whatever you are doing and wherever you are in the world. See you next week on Serendipity Farm πŸ™‚

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70 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Littlesundog
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 15:08:31

    Fran, I want to know how on earth you keep up with planting, maintenance, and harvest on all of your gardens? I’m worn out just looking at all of that! I love the beer photo… where there’s a will there’s a way, eh? I see you wasted no time in making Earl’s boat pad a good ship strawberry. Poor Earl. Oh, and a very happy belated birthday to Steve! Welcome to the age of real wisdom! πŸ™‚

    Reply

  2. thecontentedcrafter
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 15:25:42

    I love Shasta daisies – it is possible they are my favourite garden flower. I can’t grow them here though – no room πŸ™‚ I have tomatoes too. Hundreds of ’em and they pretty much look like they will all ripen in the same three day time span. That wasn’t part of my original vision! Back in the 70’s in my wild gypsy days I baked constantly with my wholemeal sour-dough starter. It was a wild untamed beast, much given to frothing over the top of her container and terribly fart-inducing. This was in the days before bread makers and other such labour saving devices. I made bread every day and my youngest daughter will still pull a face and half rise from her chair whenever she hears the word ‘sourdough’. A bit like Pavlov’s dogs……… only the other end πŸ˜€

    Your hair looks fantastic after a two day plait. I must try that – except we aren’t having any rain [I’m assuming it got wet in the rain] We are enjoying the hottest summer ever in the history of the whole entire planet! Well, possibly I exaggerate a little, but it is certainly the longest, hottest summer in my 12 years here. It is quite delicious!

    The place is looking wonderful, Steve’s photos are wonderful, Earl looks positively handsome on his driveway and the garden is just a plain wonder! Good work you two – it will be a wonderful year for you- I just know it!

    Reply

  3. brymnsons
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 16:38:35

    Such rich and fertile ground you have managed to create in your sanctuary πŸ™‚ Wish I could come by and take a look. That pie looks amazing, so it is probably a good thing that I can’t just wander in and pinch it! You are the queen of making someone feel loved and well fed on their 50th πŸ™‚ The strawberry boat looks amazing. I can just see the photos now of fat, sweet, red deliciousness. Speaking of photos, Steve is just getting way too snazzy eh. Needs to open up a website, I sure would purchase one or two of those gorgeous photos. One day I’ll be able to say “He’s my friends husband, I knew him before he was famous” πŸ˜€ x

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 28, 2015 @ 17:51:01

      Lol, Steve now has a seriously fat head and has started calling his photos “art” ;). He says he has some deals up his sleeve that he got with his new camera (free prints) so if you tell him one that you like you can have it. He will even sign it πŸ˜‰

      Reply

      • brymnsons
        Jan 28, 2015 @ 23:20:39

        Wow that’s such a generous offer! He deserves to call it art πŸ™‚ I really love the one of the yacht sitting on that beautiful water with the reflection. Thank you so much x I think it’s your yummy food that’s made his head fat πŸ˜€

      • narf77
        Jan 29, 2015 @ 04:00:40

        LOL! I will tell him which one you like and when it comes around (they are monthly things) he will get it and send it to you πŸ™‚

      • brymnsons
        Jan 29, 2015 @ 10:32:37

        Yippee!! Thanks guys x

  4. The Snail of Happiness
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 20:08:38

    Happy birthday Stevie-boy!
    I’m really enjoying all the lovely pictures (even the urban degradation) and seeing what’s happening in your garden. In the depths of winter here, it’s good to get some vicarious sunshine. Oh and that King Orchid… amazing… who’d have thought it would like beer so much!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 03:58:13

      Well it hasn’t flowered ever since we have been giving it water so maybe dad was right (or it is a sulking alcoholic now πŸ˜‰ )

      Reply

  5. Chica Andaluza
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 22:39:27

    Happy Birthday Steve and welcome to the 50 club – I’ve been a member for a whole week and it’s really not so bad! I’ve decided now I really need a dehydrator – will have to look into this. Love the spinning wheel and the plants/edibles are all looking amazing. I think I am most jealous of the promise you have of wonderful tomatoes – here in England I am paying a fortune for teeny tiny cherry tomatoes (which I don’t really like) because they are the only ones that vaguely taste of tomato. I know I should just give them up until they come back into season but I am a Chica who can live without chocolate but not tomatoes (or cheese, or wine) 😦

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 03:59:57

      Happy birthday Ms Chica! πŸ™‚ I will post a photo of me and a bucket of tomatoes just for you BUT that is only on the condition that the actually ripen. Good old blighty and Tasmania do have a lot in common ;). Again, VERY happy birthday Ms Chica and here’s to tomatoes, cheese and wine in copious quantities πŸ™‚

      Reply

  6. aFrankAngle
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 23:24:51

    Happy Birthday to Steve and his celebratory day of dessert and alcohol! So will next year be 5+46 or 6+45?

    OMG … look at those figs! Good luck with your bumper crop of zucchini. We used to have a zucchini-based cookbook. About drinking that beer, you need a glass to which you can put your mouth over it … like this guy, but without the hands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=As7lcsQaM4c …. Let us know about your progress.

    Just so you know, late January and late July are our seasonal equivalents … so as you enjoy the heat, we are below freezing.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 04:04:14

      I love winter so I am a tad jealous of your predicament Mr Frank. I am planning our first winter veggie garden this year. Just imagine winter without snow, without ice and kind of mild with rain and that’s what winter is like here. We very rarely go below 0C (34F) so no freezing and plants grow right through the year here without us having to drag them indoors to overwinter. I am thinking of getting one of those stainless steel straws so my hands don’t get stuck to my glass any more πŸ˜‰

      Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 04:06:47

      I would be more likely to snort with laughter while I was trying to fit my whole mouth over a glass and inhale the contents and end up in hospital. Might be best I don’t try that one πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  7. The Twisted Yarn
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 08:40:07

    *sigh* I don’t even know where to start with my appreciation of this post. First, I’m falling in love with where you live and the wonderful food that seems to grow abundantly all around you. (By the way, you’ve just inspired me to get off my lazy backside and get me and the Toddler Twinnage down to the allotment… although I’m due in work tomorrow and Friday so maybe that won’t work.) And I love your photos and Steve’s photos too. And that pie looked GORGEOUS. Thank you for allowing us peaks into your beautiful world. One of the things I love about blogging is reading about the changing seasons all over the world, and your summertime posts are much needed while some of us are shivering in cold, grey UK.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 11:07:14

      I will keep the summer home fires …er…”not” burning while you actually keep yours burning then when it’s our turn to be huddled around the fire I can draw from the bank of warmth that you are amassing. Sounds like a good deal to me :). Stevie-boy loves taking photos… loves it too much methinks. Tempted to hide the camera but not quite there yet ;). I am just about to start planting out our winter garden babies. I plan on having a winter garden this year. There is a first time for everything. Not sure what to plant in it or specifically when to plant it but that’s neither here nor there, it’s all about the planting and the intent! πŸ™‚

      Reply

  8. foodnstuff
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 10:41:21

    Happy Birthday, Steve! Looks like it was a good one culinary-wise!

    Don’t know about the pepinos, Fran. Mine are setting fruit OK and I never see any insects on them. Give the flower heads a little caress (!) with your hand. They’re in the same family as tomatoes and will be pollinated by movement of the flower truss (which is why tomato growers want to introduce bumblebeesβ€”they pollinate by “buzzing’ the flowers).

    Good luck with your cucamelons, ‘cos I’ve had none with mine. Just no pollination it seems. Very disappointed.

    Love the strawberry boat!

    Is that an Excalibur dehydrator? Didn’t know you had one too. I love mine. Do you make your yoghurt in it?

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 11:12:27

      I prove bread in mine Bev but haven’t tried yoghurt making (well, not using the excalibur anyway πŸ˜‰ ). We have bumble bees in sanctuary that are buzzing everything that stops moving around long enough to be hit but not sure why the pepinos aren’t producing fruit. Might be that the conditions are too good for them and they are running to leaves more than thinking about fruiting? I put lots of manure and compost in those garden beds. Glad you liked the strawberry water wicked boat. All thanks to you and your sharing. I had never heard of water wicking before I read your posts :). I am just off up to water Sanctuary so I might just give the pepino flowers a bit of a gentle caress and remind them that humans are nice creatures and that it isn’t a free ride in the garden. Earl has his eye on them! πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  9. Robbie
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 16:07:16

    πŸ™‚ First I have to say, “EYE CANDY” all those pictures of food, are just eye-candy for me:-) Very beautiful and love how it is all laid out and looks inviting:-)
    You love food + I enjoy stopping by every week to learn about what new foods you are growing and what you are cooking at Serendipidity Farm:-) I must say your food is eye-candy,too:-) As you both work that camera, I am sure there will be more eye-candy in 2015. A good camera will open a world of creativity! Looks like you both are making it happen!
    Lately, I don’t get to your post until it is almost 11pm in the USA. ( long sigh). I take my dogs out and sit back to see what , “Fran is up to in her neck of the woods.” before I head to bed:-) LOL..you always have something exciting going on! You never disappoint me:-)
    Chasing the grandson again this evening + I am exhausted. I know why God lets young people have toddlers-LOL. I was upset with him tonight because he would not eat his good food, I started doing the “parent” thingy + realized, I don’t have to do this! I am the grandma. I told my daughter, I will not do that again, for it is her job. I am looking forward this summer to growing more with him in the garden:-) He loves plants + animals-like most kids-now that is our duty to pass that love on!
    Happy Birthday to Steve:-) Tell him I am 56 and 50 seems like AGES ago:-) LOL. It all goes by too fast + before you know it , it is another decade down!
    He is blessed to be living a great life with you + every week, I enjoy reading about your amazing life. It truly is a wonderful life you both lead:-)
    I feel 2015 is going to be a great year for us all!
    p.s. Spinning alpaca fleece-WOW-look forward to reading about that in 2015…You both are so resourceful:-)
    Nite to you both-( lol) by the time you read this- it will be the next day!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 29, 2015 @ 17:54:05

      Thank you for your lovely and most exuberant post Robbie. Life has been awesome so far this year. Lets just hope it carries on. Did you see that Ms Pauline is going to America in 10 weeks time? Not sure where you are or if you would be able to catch up with her but it would be an awesome way to meet her :). If your grandson won’t eat you are absolutely right to say “fair enough sunshine!” I do that with the dogs now. After a while they get hungry but they now know that I don’t do repeat offers and if they refuse their (perfectly wonderful raw steak that other dogs would do backflips for!) dinner then that’s it till tomorrow! No games on my watch! I haven’t been game enough to try spinning the alpaca fleece yet but am meeting up with someone who spins tomorrow and she can give me some basic pointers. Once I do I will starting using the yarn to make things. You just never know, I might do a giveaway with it :). Just about to animate some sourdough starter sent by another Aussie blogger. It’s 8 years old and I reckon it’s a winner. Wish me luck. Summer is the best time to muck around with sourdough as it is nice and warm and the starter can do it’s Thang without the worry of it being too cold. My ferments are happy all winter as they stay in the kitchen with Brunhilda and if it looks like it is going to be a bit cold I put them on the proving rack over the top of the stove and they stay nice and toasty warm. Thank you for reading my blog as late as you do Robbie. That takes dedication and I love you for it :). Give the dogs a big smootch from me, Bezial, Steve and Earl πŸ™‚

      Reply

      • Robbie
        Jan 30, 2015 @ 00:01:17

        I know-she told me-I am just too far away for the short time period she will be here. Her schedule is set with where she is staying. It would take several days to get to where I am and visit. I have 2 kids finishing schooling in that time period, so I have to be available for that too. If you look at our state it maybe traveling over land instead of water, but our states are much larger than one country + we have many-lol. If you drive-it takes days to get places:-) Her time here is short not too long, but maybe next time:-)

      • narf77
        Jan 30, 2015 @ 03:00:43

        Yeah, it’s like Australia. People think we are tiny but to get from one state to another takes days or even a week if you go from one side of the country to the other (that’s none stop driving). Oh well, maybe next time? πŸ˜‰

  10. rabidlittlehippy
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 19:51:12

    Another awesome post indeed Ms Narf. I love seeing pics of your garden. So inspiring.
    Your tomatoes and mine could be twins. Some of mine are heading towards 6ft if you can believe it! They are sprawling left, right and centre but where I’ve been able to I have used baling twine and tied them roughly back in order to find paths and space to walk. πŸ™‚ I’ve been picking a few fruit every day too. πŸ˜€

    Good luck with the sourdough. Remember if your starter gets away from you, feed it up big and use several cups to make pabncakes. πŸ™‚

    As someone else asked, is that an Excalibur? Well envious if it is. πŸ™‚

    I reckon your wallabies et al must be well hungry if they’re game to eat walnut leaves. Urgh!

    I can’t wait to see (and share with you) first spinnings. I only had a few days at my wheel too and although I can see where the deep therapy of spinning will come from, at the moment I’m finding it a wee bit frustrating at the lack of perfect thread too. Perfectionist much? Moi?! πŸ˜‰

    Happy birthday indeed Mr Steve. I hope it was a lovely day and that your birthday meal tasted as stupendous as it looks. And I love that yacht photo too. Stunning!

    Reply

  11. Margaret Griffin
    Jan 29, 2015 @ 21:21:21

    Hi Fran, Congratulations for making January the month of contentment and happiness!

    Steve has done a fine job with those beautiful photographs of sky and water – an irresistible combination.

    I wish you pumpkin abundance – roast pumpkin, roast vegetable pizza, pumpkin scones, spicy pumpkin soup, salad with roast pumpkin, mashed pumpkin, pumpkin mashed with sweet potato. I am a fan of pumpkin and I am sure you have a trove of pumpkin recipes.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2015 @ 02:59:09

      I love pumpkin too Margaret and that’s why there are so many of them in the garden at the moment, because of all of the seeds in my compost ;). The second month of “summer” in Tassie was very mild. I am hoping that doesn’t mean that we are going to have a scorcher for February. Gardening is amazingly good therapy πŸ™‚

      Reply

  12. Namita
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 03:57:40

    Hello Fran, Buds, blossoms, fruits, flowers, fruits and tress, sunshine and smiles….thats Serendipity Farm to me. Belated happy birthday to Steeve. I am sure that he must have enjoyed his special day. The pie looks great and the cake looks delish! with 600gms of chocolate, it must be YUM!
    I loved your wavy hair. It reminded me of our childhood. we would purposely plait our hair tightly and then wet it. We would sleep with tight wet plaits. Next morning there would be a heap of wavy hair on our head.We loved the new look…..the fuzzy look. it would last only for some hours though!
    I was fascinated by the assortment of dehydrated fruits in your kitchen. Those giant figs look sweet and juicy. Wish I had some ….i would make chunky jam out of them. What happened of sourdough? I am waiting for your next post.
    Enjoy …….Warm wishes….love,
    Namita

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 30, 2015 @ 04:18:22

      I have to reanimate the sourdough but will be doing that today. Our summer has been very mild and cool so far so hopefully the sourdough (that comes from Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial blogging/baking fame in Sydney) doesn’t mind our cooler temperatures. I am a bit scared of attempting to bake with sourdough again as “Herman”, my original starter, was very hard to work with and delivered vinegar brick loaves that even the possums wouldn’t touch. Thank you for your lovely comment Namita and glad I could give you a little bit of our summer. You are right about the hair, that lovely curly look doesn’t last long πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  13. cathyandchucky
    Jan 30, 2015 @ 17:19:35

    Love your blog Fronkiii 😍. Your garden is looking lovely and I hope to see it in the flesh again soon. Xox

    Reply

  14. insearchofitall
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 01:56:19

    There is a LOT going on here so the only comment I’ll leave you with is that I have to drink my beer from a straw. Actually, coffee, tea, water, wine anything from a cup or glass has to have a straw in it since one side of my face leaks.:) Keep that in mind the next time you have sticky fingers. Straws help. πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • narf77
      Jan 31, 2015 @ 05:20:04

      Well noted now and I am going to find one of those glass or stainless steel straws especially for the purpose. My hands did get stuck to the glass and I had to get Stevie-boy to run water over them to release them πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  15. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Jan 31, 2015 @ 02:25:37

    Woohoo, happy belated birthday to Stevie-boy! I’ll spare you both the jokes about being “over the hill” and what not, because I think those sort of remarks should only come from those who have been there and seen the peak themselves. I’d like to think that rather than a downhill tumble from the top, it’s now a nice, flat, walkable plateau that makes all the work of getting there worthwhile. πŸ™‚

    Reply

  16. mommermom
    Feb 01, 2015 @ 02:21:47

    How on earth do you find time to bake, dehydrate fruit, go for a stroll at the docks, and care for your incredible Serindipidty farm! You are one busy woman with a talent for observervation and dedication as well as a green thumb-oh goodness -an entire hand! Things look incredible at the sanctuary! The amount of work that must go into maintaining your gardens makes me consider taking a nap in honor of you since you must not have time for one-ha ha. Sounds like labors of love and it shows. Love the spinning wheel. Are you now going to take on a new hobby or is it for decor? Will be awaiting news on the watermelons. 😊

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 01, 2015 @ 05:26:55

      I need to be honest here and admit that I keep digging things into the ground in Sanctuary and they do the growing…usually in a mass tangle of craziness. Photos make it look a whole lot more attractive than it is. I tend to just “bung it in” and hope for the best. My latest craze is that I am going to create my own potatoes via pollination. A friend has some really unusual spuds and said that I can have a few to grow some of my own so I think I might be about to become a mad spud scientist. I LOVE potatoes and so this is as much about my potato lust as it is about playing Dr Frankenstein. There is always something going on here on Serendipity Farm πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  17. mattb325
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 07:11:46

    That Melaleuca forest looks amazing! Did you guys plant all of them?

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2015 @ 05:18:59

      Hi Matt, no, they were here when we moved into our 4 acres on the river. The top bush block is sheoaks and the lower block is all Melaleuca alternifolia which goes to show you how dry it can be at the top and how damp it gets down the bottom and how clever trees are to be able to tell the difference ;). Cheers for reading my blog post, our 4 acres of mass tangle used to be a really gorgeous landscaped garden full of the most beautiful specimens (there were tree ferns all over the place prior to my dad taking over and deciding not to bother with watering any more…) as we slowly work our way out from the house block we find tenacious shrubs and trees that have managed to survive the onslaught of wallabies and rabbits and possums as well as the sheer neglect (dad wasn’t a gardener) under all of the banana passionfruit and blackberries. There are some awesome things down there including 2 Angophora costata (Sydney red gums) that our horticulture diploma lecturer (who was from Sydney prior to relocating here) hugged when he saw them. I just picked up some perennials from a friend who loaded me up with Salvias and geum and other hardy perennials to plant out so I might just get that cottage garden look if the wallabies approve πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  18. Lissa
    Feb 02, 2015 @ 10:05:30

    Happy birthday to Steve. Just a young’un at 50.

    So many lovely things going on in your temperate garden – you grow Oca! so envious. It dies at the first sign of humidity here and I really want it to thrive. You have strawberries and stone fruit! Tomatoes in summer! Fruit fly ruin them up here in Brisbane in summer, they’re a winter crop for us.

    Pepino I find crops best here in winter and the small fruit have more flavour than the big watery ones but I love them all.

    Really must go out and crop the sweet potato towers they have become humungous with all the rain and are trying to escape their pots. Will do it now..yes I will.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2015 @ 05:23:30

      SO glad you joined the Facebook page Lissa and am looking forwards to having lots of chats with you. I just know you are going to love the like minded people there as they are all passionate about growing food as well as nutters like us ;). No fruit on my pepinos yet but I guess they have put a LOT of leafage on and maybe there might be a bit too much nitrogen flying around for them but I can wait :). I, too, like the smaller pepinos, they have a more intense flavour where the bigger ones tend to taste a bit too much like cucumber for me. I got the oca from a lady up the road who had it growing on her property when she bought it. She has a little plant stand and sells “extras” from her garden for $2 a pot. I have bought some most interesting things from her in the past but I swapped her a cucamelon for a small paper bag full of oca that apparently love the pot of oak leaf mould and horse manure I potted them up into. Did you see I am growing turmeric and cardamom? That’s a coup for our local conditions. Isn’t it great fun looking at other people’s gardens and thinking “Maybe…” πŸ™‚

      Reply

  19. Sue Dreamwalker
    Feb 03, 2015 @ 08:46:12

    Why is it when ever I come over here I drool……. Literally my mouth waters, and so loved the Pie, and chocolate indulgence.. Congratulations to Stevy.. so pleased he survived the chocolate rush and the dog licking up the traces of left-overs πŸ™‚

    Your garden is looking very healthy and even our mistakes of late planting Nature can rectify .. Good to see the Kurly Kale thriving.. And those Figs look lovely.. So that is Gluttony out of the way .. My next sin is envy..
    I so envy you that spinning wheel.. Always been a pet want.. I guess I must use up all those left over pieces of wool first though…

    I bought a pattern book of crocheting for new beginners.. I can do the basics but not the fancy It shows simple steps for the things I wasn’t sure on.. So I get out all my wool this afternoon,, and my knitting needle bag where I thought I had two crocheting hooks except seems they took a walk… So the universe is speaking .. Rest the wrists a little longer.. πŸ™‚
    This time I am listening.. :-D..

    So good to see you can use your wrists when you are thirsty! πŸ˜‰ xxxx

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 03, 2015 @ 09:03:47

      I would learn to use my elbows Ms Sue, life is too short to go thirsty when your hands are mucky! ;). Crocheting is easy peasy and much faster than knitting. I think you will take to it like a duck to water. The spinning wheel only cost me 50 odd pounds for everything you saw in that online image. I was really chuffed but my son was a bit snitty as he had just bought a secondhand one for his partner that set him back a whole LOT more and that he had to buy accessories for. Mine was complete with everything including a beginners book on how to spin and a pot of forest green wool dye (should I ever want to become a wood nymph πŸ˜‰ ) seems the universe delivers what we need when we least expect it. I think I am going to have to sit down with those bags of alpaca wool and spin enough to make some nice woolen hats for winter

      Reply

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