Whiling away Wednesday

Hi All,

Writing blog posts in comments is a great way to share the love without labouring a point in a post. I can caption my brains out and that keeps me on track and pertinent to the post. At the moment, February is shaping up to be a hot month. Most of our summer so far has been overcast and more like autumn but it seems Franderella WILL go to the ripe tomato ball after all. “PHEW”! I was getting a bit worried about all of those green tomato recipes I was going to have to find and make! So on with the photos for this week…

A good friend that I met on the "Fans of Grassroots Magazine Australia" Facebook page that I follow studiously asked me if I would like to have some plums. Why yes PLEASE Ruth, I would love some :). She also gave me some perennial leeks. I have planted most of them out and gifted a few to friends. The good thing about me planting them out is that when Ruth moves, she can get some back from me to populate her new garden.

A good friend that I met on the “Fans of Grassroots Magazine Australia” Facebook page that I follow studiously asked me if I would like to have some plums. Why yes PLEASE Ruth, I would love some :). She also gave me some perennial leeks. I have planted most of them out and gifted a few to friends. The good thing about me planting them out is that when Ruth moves, she can get some back from me to populate her new garden.

Plums sliced in halves ready to put on the dehydrator sheets

Plums sliced in halves ready to put on the dehydrator sheets

Dehydrated plums that look like raisins. They are a bit tart but will be great in muffins

Dehydrated plums that look like raisins. They are a bit tart but will be great in muffins

Coconut kaffir lime rice with perfectly ripe foraged peaches sliced on top. An amazing breakfast made even more amazing when eating it in the sunshine on the weekend on the deck :)

Coconut kaffir lime rice with perfectly ripe foraged peaches sliced on top. An amazing breakfast made even more amazing when eating it in the sunshine on the weekend on the deck ๐Ÿ™‚

Dried cherry and dark chocolate muffin mix

Dried cherry and dark chocolate muffin mix

Dried cherry and dark chocolate muffins

Dried cherry and dark chocolate muffins

The very first of my new subscription of Grass Roots magazine to arrive in our mail box. No more hunting around in random News Agencies in the vain hope that they might have a copy :)

The very first of my new subscription of Grass Roots magazine to arrive in our mail box. No more hunting around in random News Agencies in the vain hope that they might have a copy ๐Ÿ™‚

The steps down from the deck. Nature appears to be taking back it's property. Might be time to get the secateurs out and tame her a bit...

The steps down from the deck. Nature appears to be taking back it’s property. Might be time to get the secateurs out and tame her a bit…

 

Here is a stand of creeping groundcover raspberries that I will be harvesting for rooted cuttings soon. I want to get a good selection of them growing in pots if anyone else wants some as no-one that I have mentioned them to has ever heard of them or can find another source of them

Here is a stand of creeping groundcover raspberries that I will be harvesting for rooted cuttings soon. I want to get a good selection of them growing in pots if anyone else wants some as no-one that I have mentioned them to has ever heard of them or can find another source of them

 

This is the area under the deck that was very difficult to grow anything in. We chose species that like arid conditions and that would take the full sun  in this area and now there is a reasonable amount of vegetation in this area and it looks a whole lot better now

This is the area under the deck that was very difficult to grow anything in. We chose species that like arid conditions and that would take the full sun in this area and now there is a reasonable amount of vegetation in this area and it looks a whole lot better now

This is a lovely standard grafted "Cascade Falls" that my daughters gave me for Christmas one year. We planted it out  under the deck and although the wallabies took an early fancy to it, it seems to be recovering nicely

This is a lovely standard grafted “Cascade Falls” that my daughters gave me for Christmas one year. We planted it out under the deck and although the wallabies took an early fancy to it, it seems to be recovering nicely

Just to show you how much vegetation is in this previously sparsely planted area. This photo was taken from the side of the garden

Just to show you how much vegetation is in this previously sparsely planted area. This photo was taken from the side of the garden

This indoor plant has been living the hard life underneath a conifer in the side garden. Someone obviously once put the pot out in the garden and forgot about it. Many years on and it is still alive. It is one of the plants that have benefited greatly from us putting in a larger fenced area and clearing out the weeds from under it.

This indoor plant has been living the hard life underneath a conifer in the side garden. Someone obviously once put the pot out in the garden and forgot about it. Many years on and it is still alive. It is one of the plants that have benefited greatly from us putting in a larger fenced area and clearing out the weeds from under it.

The water wicked strawberry bed is going great guns. I only just topped it up with water today so it is working really well and the strawberries all have a new lease on life and are fruiting like crazy. It's really wonderful when an idea actually works :)

The water wicked strawberry bed is going great guns. I only just topped it up with water today so it is working really well and the strawberries all have a new lease on life and are fruiting like crazy. It’s really wonderful when an idea actually works ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the pumpkins that are growing around the peripherals of Sanctuary. I keep having to remind them to stay on the outside of the gardens and some of them are repeat offenders...

One of the pumpkins that are growing around the peripherals of Sanctuary. I keep having to remind them to stay on the outside of the gardens and some of them are repeat offenders…

The top corner experimental garden in Sanctuary is starting to look pretty good. This was previously hard baked soil that nothing much grew on. I put some Jerusalem artichokes here to see if they would break up the soil and used them as the "stalk" part of the 3 sisters equation. The pumpkins seem to be liking it here and there are grapes around the perimeter of Sanctuary being trained up stakes this year that we are going to espalier next year.

The top corner experimental garden in Sanctuary is starting to look pretty good. This was previously hard baked soil that nothing much grew on. I put some Jerusalem artichokes here to see if they would break up the soil and used them as the “stalk” part of the 3 sisters equation. The pumpkins seem to be liking it here and there are grapes around the perimeter of Sanctuary being trained up stakes this year that we are going to espalier next year.

The first of the new gardens that we planted out with basil, tomatillos and eggplants and I have been planting all sorts of other things to fill in the gaps. I love experimental gardening :)

The first of the new gardens that we planted out with basil, tomatillos and eggplants and I have been planting all sorts of other things to fill in the gaps. I love experimental gardening ๐Ÿ™‚

My 4 pots of turmeric are having a ball out in the ground and have doubled in size since I planted them out and are sending up new shoots all over the place.

My 4 pots of turmeric are having a ball out in the ground and have doubled in size since I planted them out and are sending up new shoots all over the place.

This is one of the poor long suffering cardamom plants that I recently planted out. They are looking a bit raggy at the moment but there are lots of new shoots coming up out of the old leaves. They both seem to be happy in their new situation and one day they will mass with the turmeric and I will be halfway to having my own fresh spice rack in Sanctuary

This is one of the poor long suffering cardamom plants that I recently planted out. They are looking a bit raggy at the moment but there are lots of new shoots coming up out of the old leaves. They both seem to be happy in their new situation and one day they will mass with the turmeric and I will be halfway to having my own fresh spice rack in Sanctuary

Steve took this shot of the sun going down behind a cloud last week.

Steve took this shot of the sun going down behind a cloud last week.

My new kaffir lime has a fruit on it! This is the best photo of the fruit that my camera would let me take. It gets bolshie sometimes and refuses to cooperate.

My new Australian native fingerย lime has a fruit on it! This is the best photo of the fruit that my camera would let me take. It gets bolshie sometimes and refuses to cooperate.

My kaffir lime is jealous of all of the attention that the native finger lime is getting and has decided to start putting on some new growth and has flower buds!

My kaffir lime is jealous of all of the attention that the native finger lime is getting and has decided to start putting on some new growth and has flower buds!

I planted out a bag of very sprouted potatoes that a friend gave me from her pantry in the last of the new garden beds and they are going crazy in there. I planted out beetroot seed in front of them and lolo russo lettuce as well. The empty looking space is for the sweet potato cuttings to grow into but as it has been quite cool for this time of year they haven't grown very much so far. This next week of hot temperatures (hot for us ;) ) should see them get growing a lot faster.

I planted out a bag of very sprouted potatoes that a friend gave me from her pantry in the last of the new garden beds and they are going crazy in there. I planted out beetroot seed in front of them and lolo russo lettuce as well. The empty looking space is for the sweet potato cuttings to grow into but as it has been quite cool for this time of year they haven’t grown very much so far. This next week of hot temperatures (hot for us ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) should see them get growing a lot faster.

I took this photo from the new garden area looking back at the existing first 2 veggie gardens

I took this photo from the new garden area looking back at the existing first 2 veggie gardens. Note the triffids hiding among the nasturtiums ๐Ÿ˜‰

Check out how tall my initial tomatillo plant has gotten.

Check out how tall my initial tomatillo plant has gotten. I have more growing quickly in the new garden beds

One of my 4 pepino shrubs growing like topsy in among the tomato plants. I was most happy to discover that pepino's are actually perennial so that means that my babies should carry on through winter if I interplant them with lots of winter veggies to protect them from the extremely minimal risk of frost damage.

One of my 4 pepino shrubs growing like topsy in among the tomato plants. I was most happy to discover that pepino’s are actually perennial so that means that my babies should carry on through winter if I interplant them with lots of winter veggies to protect them from the extremely minimal risk of frost damage.

Looking from between the first 2 garden beds towards the back of Sanctuary. I am really happy how the gardens have come on and to think, this time a few months ago, there were just weeds up there!

Looking from between the first 2 garden beds towards the back of Sanctuary. I am really happy how the gardens have come on and to think, this time a few months ago, there were just weeds up there!

Lastly this is where I have planted out most of the citrus trees and experimental compost gardens. As you can see, my love of pumpkins has somewhat skewed the contents of the compost buckets and thus I find myself loaded with free pumpkin vines that are all starting to produce large fruit. I am guessing they are the creamy skinned pumpkins that look like Queensland blues but with creamy yellow skin that I was buying not so long ago. I really like them so fingers crossed they stay true to type :)

Lastly this is where I have planted out most of the citrus trees and experimental compost gardens. As you can see, my love of pumpkins has somewhat skewed the contents of the compost buckets and thus I find myself loaded with free pumpkin vines that are all starting to produce large fruit. I am guessing they are the creamy skinned pumpkins that look like Queensland blues but with creamy yellow skin that I was buying not so long ago. I really like them so fingers crossed they stay true to type ๐Ÿ™‚

As Mr Peter Cundall would say “That’s your bloomin’ lot this week folks!” I hope that our gardening endeavours have given you something to think about this week, even if it is just “Oh MY their gardens are messy!” ;).

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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? ๐Ÿ™‚ ). 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Myer lemon futures :)

Myer lemon futures ๐Ÿ™‚

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 yardย beautifully. I tried about 20 times but every shot was blurry. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold em’! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Dirt and how to tame it

Hi Folks,

Yeah, I know, I only posted a HUGE post yesterday so why is narf7 posting again…so soon…when we all know that she is completely allergic to posting any more than once a week? Well you see its all about the soil. NOT the bass (that is another, more humiliating post for when I am feeling less fragile about my bum and more proactive ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). You see soil is incredibly important. It’s not just the stuff that we tut-tut and keep trying to keep out of our homes, it’s not just something to walk on, it’s actually the medium for our survival and the mode in which all of our food plants are able to assimilate nutrients so that we, in turn, are able to assimilate the heck out of a burger or big salad. Soil IS important. It is vitally important and we all need to start treating it with the respect and attention that it so rightly deserves. Why is it that anything really important tends to get shuffled under the carpet (no pun intended ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) if a massive profit can’t be made out of it? There is no time for narf7 to get on her soapbox here, we all need to be thinking about how to give back to our soil to ensure a good future for our children and our grandchildren.

So how do we do this? Well composting is a good start. Not only are we reducing landfill but we are injecting our soil with new nutrients and giving the soil organisms something to tapdance about. Lay down the compost and the worms start to tango…dig in a bit of chook bedding with tasty manure and all kinds of insects move in and start to party. Your soil will be alive with happy microorganisms and that’s just the start. What about finding out if your soil is a bit unbalanced. Everything here on Serendipity Farm is unbalanced to a degree including the soil. Ours is acidic which is great for the blueberries, the azaleas and the rhododendrons but some plants just don’t like it here.

Our soil is sparce, is in between rocks and is tied up in massive yellow clay. In order to garden here and to get the most out of our soil we need to either dig our brains out or think smarter. We prefer the “smarter” option and when we use plants to do our hard work it’s a win-win situation all round. Did you know that comfrey, sweet potatoes and horse radish will dig your garden for you? Did you know that there are many weed species that have very deep root systems (everything has a silver lining) and did you know that many plants make their own nitrogen supplies in the ground and that you don’t have to always add a lot of nitrogen to get quality results in your veggie garden?

Social media has allowed us the dubious joy of being able to hunt for things for free. We don’t have to get out of our pyjamas to hunt down anything that we like but in the wealth of garbage and tweets and meme’s that we find our inboxes and Facebook pages crawling with these days there a little gems. Go hunting for something good for your soil today. You could start by heading over to Robbies gem of a blog and reading up everything that you can about soil as her garden is a splendiferous example of how you can turn “dirt” into life giving soil…

http://palmraeurbanpotager.com/

You can also learn to get your hands into dirt…plant a few veggies in some pots and watch them grow. See first hand how the food you eat needs good quality soil to grow and always try to get the least processed and damaging soil amendments that you can. Think smart folks, use what is free to mulch your soil. look after it. Our future depends on it!

One busy week deserves another

Hi All,

 

Last weeks picture post was apparently greatly appreciated by most people. I think I wrote a blog post in comments which seemed to suit everyone so I think I might just carry on with this kind of post for a while (till something better comes along and inspires me ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Ms Rabid shared a pin with me this week that completely blew me away. We have a little groundcover growing on the desperately dry area between our driveway at the front of the deck and the first garden (lower down). Every year it survives with the odd squirt from the hose and keeps spreading. I just found out from Ms Rabid that it is actually a form of creeping groundcover raspberry called Rubus pentalobus. You learn something every day! Mine flowers but hasnโ€™t ever set fruit and the conditions that the poor plant is living in I am not surprised. Guess who is going to take lots of cuttings and care for it and fertilise it and plant it ALL OVER THE PLACE now that I know that it has value in a permaculture garden other than holding the slope together in the arid conditions that we call โ€œSummerโ€ here. What a valuable little plant! ๐Ÿ™‚ Ok, lets get into it then…what has happened since last Wednesday…

This is the Rubus pentalobus that Ms Rabid mentioned the other day. I am quite sure it's what she was talking about and here's the blog post that backed me up... http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/permaculture-plants-groundcover.html

This is the Rubus pentalobus that Ms Rabid mentioned the other day. I am quite sure it’s what she was talking about and here’s the blog post that backed me up… http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/permaculture-plants-groundcover.html

 

Steve needed a new workbench in his shed and so we cut up our old kitchen table to repurpose it for the job.

Steve needed a new workbench in his shed and so we cut up our old kitchen table to repurpose it for the job.

We didn't disturb the tenants, they get angry when you make too much noise...

We didn’t disturb the tenants, they get angry when you make too much noise…

Once the table/bench was in Steve decided to rearrange his shed and tidy it up and here's what it looks like now

Once the table/bench was in Steve decided to rearrange his shed and tidy it up and here’s what it looks like now

We took a lot of rubbish down to the tip (and lots to the tip shop) and we always check the tip shop in case there is something we can use in the garden. This time we found this half keg with holes drilled in the bottom that is going to be Steve's new shed bin.

We took a lot of rubbish down to the tip (and lots to the tip shop) and we always check the tip shop in case there is something we can use in the garden. This time we found this half keg with holes drilled in the bottom that is going to be Steve’s new shed bin.

We also bought this very deep corner shower unit for $5 to be repurposed as a pond under the new tap that Steve installed in Sanctuary for me. Here, Steve is removing the lip from the top of the shower/bath

We also bought this very deep corner shower unit for $5 to be repurposed as a pond under the new tap that Steve installed in Sanctuary for me. Here, Steve is removing the lip from the top of the shower/bath

Nice smooth top and time to make sure that the water doesn't come out when it is filled

Nice smooth top and time to make sure that the water doesn’t come out when it is filled. Steve found a thick plastic lid and cut a circle out of it

Then he applied lots of silicone and let it dry/set before we took it up to Sanctuary.

Then he applied lots of silicone and let it dry/set before we took it up to Sanctuary.

The tip shop has a shed with more discarded treasures and we picked up some teddies for the dogs to play with and when I was sorting through them to weed out the teddies that didn't have beans inside them (bad mistake to buy teddies with beans inside them for dogs ;) ) I found this lovely little rabbit. He is very cute but that's not why I bought him...

The tip shop has a shed with more discarded treasures and we picked up some teddies for the dogs to play with and when I was sorting through them to weed out the teddies that didn’t have beans inside them (bad mistake to buy teddies with beans inside them for dogs ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) I found this lovely little rabbit. He is very cute but that’s not why I bought him…

This is why I bought him for the princely sum of 20c. He is a vintage Steiff bunny.

This is why I bought him for the princely sum of 20c. He is a vintage Steiff bunny. Sometimes it pays to go to the tip shop ๐Ÿ™‚

We had been working very hard so we stopped for a beer (Steve) and a shandy (me...I am a lightweight ;) ). Nothing tastes as good on a hot day as a very cold beer

We had been working very hard so we stopped for a beer (Steve) and a shandy (me…I am a lightweight ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). Nothing tastes as good on a hot day as a very cold beer

More zucchini's from our 4 plants that are about to be made into zucchini and lemon curd and vegan zucchini brownies

More zucchini’s from our 4 plants that are about to be made into zucchini and lemon curd and vegan zucchini brownies

Bev from foodnstuff talked about bush tucker the other day and when we were walking the dogs in the local bushland we found these Pale flax lilies (Dianella longifolia) so I collected them and am drying them out so that I can grow some Serendipity Farm bush tucker for the native animals. Thank you for telling us about them Bev :)

Bev from foodnstuff talked about bush tucker the other day and when we were walking the dogs in the local bushland we found these Pale flax lilies (Dianella longifolia) so I collected them and am drying them out so that I can grow some Serendipity Farm bush tucker for the native animals. Thank you for telling us about them Bev ๐Ÿ™‚

2 more sacks of cherries and after someone who shall not be named ate quite a few of them we turned them into these...

3ย more sacks of cherries and after someone who shall not be named ate quite a few of them we turned them into these…

Dehydrated cherries that taste amazing!

Dehydrated cherries that taste amazing!

This was the state of the area behind the glasshouse and just inside Sanctuary's entrance last week...

This was the state of the area behind the glasshouse and just inside Sanctuary’s entrance last week…

A few scratches later and we were left with this...

A few scratches later and we were left with this…

And now we have added a piece of old trellis and have planted out our kiwiberry in this area.

And now we have added a piece of old trellis and have planted out our kiwiberry in this area.

A closer shot of the kiwiberry. It will take up to 5 years for it to fruit but once it starts it produces a lot of berries.

A closer shot of the kiwiberry. It will take up to 5 years for it to fruit but once it starts it produces a lot of berries.

Here you can see some blackcurrant cuttings from a lovely lady called Ruth who I met through a facebook page that I am actively participating in called "Fans of Grassroots Magazine". I love finding amazing community and this group of people are wonderfully interesting, very helpful, incredibly generous and know a huge amount about growing food plants. I got talking to a lady in Queensland and she mentioned her friend Ruth who just lives over the river from us and yesterday I met Ruth and had a really lovely time chatting to her about gardening etc. She also gave me some perpetual leeks to add to our garden mix, 2 different kinds of mint for my new mint bed (in the half fridge) and I can take some cuttings from her fig tree that grows figs the size of my fist. I LOVE community! Also in this shot is my new thornless blackberry that Stevie-boy bought me yesterday when he did the fortnightly shop in Launceston

Here you can see some blackcurrant cuttings from a lovely lady called Ruth who I met through a facebook page that I am actively participating in called “Fans of Grassroots Magazine”. I love finding amazing community and this group of people are wonderfully interesting, very helpful, incredibly generous and know a huge amount about growing food plants. I got talking to a lady in Queensland and she mentioned her friend Ruth who just lives over the river from us and yesterday I met Ruth and had a really lovely time chatting to her about gardening etc. She also gave me some perpetual leeks to add to our garden mix, 2 different kinds of mint for my new mint bed (in the half fridge) and I can take some cuttings from her fig tree that grows figs the size of my fist. I LOVE community! Also in this shot is my new thornless blackberry that Stevie-boy bought me yesterday when he did the fortnightly shop in Launceston

Here is the thornless blackberry at the end of one of the new garden beds with it's new support structure

Here is the thornless blackberry at the end of one of the new garden beds with it’s new support structure

Stevie-boy is still looking for photo opportunities at any given time ;)

Stevie-boy is still looking for photo opportunities at any given time ;). I am reading a Patricia Cornwall novel here. I love a good forensic crime novel.

We stacked all of the woodpile at the bottom of the driveway together into 2 large rows so that the split wood will dry well over summer and to make room for the next load of wood arriving soon.

We stacked all of the woodpile at the bottom of the driveway together into 2 large rows so that the split wood will dry well over summer and to make room for the next load of wood arriving soon.

In the process we found something amazing. The last load of wood got dumped on top of one of our brachychiton babies that we grew from seed and planted out down the driveway. 14 tonnes of wood sat on this poor little tree for the best part of a year and when we moved the last of the wood pile to stack it up we noticed that not only was it alive, but it had new leaves! How resilient are plants?!

In the process we found something amazing. The last load of wood got dumped on top of one of our brachychiton babies that we grew from seed and planted out down the driveway. 14 tonnes of wood sat on this poor little tree for the best part of a year and when we moved the last of the wood pile to stack it up we noticed that not only was it alive, but it had new leaves! How resilient are plants?! Stevie-boy is going to dig it up and move it. I doubt it will be so lucky after another 14 tonnes gets dumped on it…

This is our front gate (open) as we headed out to take the dogs for a mystery walk. It was a mystery to the dogs and I but Stevie-boy was driving and knew where he was going...

This is our front gate (open) as we headed out to take the dogs for a mystery walk. It was a mystery to the dogs and I but Stevie-boy was driving and knew where he was going…

We went to Georgetown, 20km away on the coast where the dogs love to walk. Here's a windswept pine on the boardwalk as we were walking (being dragged in a most determined manner by) the dogs

We went to Georgetown, 20km away on the coast where the dogs love to walk. Here’s a windswept pine on the boardwalk as we were walking (being dragged in a most determined manner by) the dogs

This was taken on the boardwalk further up. We live in a lovely place :)

This was taken on the boardwalk further up. We live in a lovely place ๐Ÿ™‚

Georgetown is very historical but not as historical as Low head where we took a snap of this very old house and gardens. We thought it particularly fitting to include it in this weeks post as next Monday is Australia day and that's our flag folks! :)

Georgetown is very historical but not as historical as Low head where we took a snap of this very old house and gardens. We thought it particularly fitting to include it in this weeks post as next Monday is Australia day and that’s our flag folks! ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve saw this naked bathing beauty on one of the Georgetown beaches...

Steve saw this naked bathing beauty on one of the Georgetown beaches…

She then had a bit of a swim ;)

She then had a bit of a swim ๐Ÿ˜‰

Steve took this photo on today's walk. It was overcast and very humid and the tide was out so we were able to walk out to this little outcrop that is usually an island in the water.

Steve took this photo on today’s walk. It was overcast and very humid and the tide was out so we were able to walk out to this little outcrop that is usually an island in the water.

The other day we walked the dogs on a bush track and Steve saw these hibiscus/cotton bugs. I have NO idea where they are going to find cotton or hibiscus around here! Most interestingly, the adults live together with the young in a colony.

The other day we walked the dogs on a bush track and Steve saw these hibiscus/cotton bugs. I have NO idea where they are going to find cotton or hibiscus around here! Most interestingly, the adults live together with the young in a colony.

Steve took this lovely artistic shot today when we headed over to Hillwood, over the Batman bridge to walk the dogs this afternoon and see if we could buy some more jam cherries for $1.50 a kilo

Steve took this lovely artistic shot today when we headed over to Hillwood, over the Batman bridge to walk the dogs this afternoon and see if we could buy some more jam cherries for $1.50 a kilo. The person who lives in this house has several brightly coloured unusual items artistically displayed in their garden and Steve liked this door in particular

I am going to dehydrate 10 kilos of these cherries and Steve is going to make cherry wine with 3kg. The potatoes were dug up when we were planting out my turmeric this afternoon. I wasn't intending to dig up spuds but there they were, right in the way of my turmeric planting venture so they had to come out.

I am going to dehydrate 10 kilos of these cherries and Steve is going to make cherry wine with 3kg. The potatoes were dug up when we were planting out my turmeric this afternoon. I wasn’t intending to dig up spuds but there they were, right in the way of my turmeric planting venture so they had to come out.

I planted out my 4 pots of turmeric as well as my 2 pots of cardamom after doing some research and finding out that both should do fine in the ground here.

I planted out my 4 pots of turmeric as well as my 2 pots of cardamom after doing some research and finding out that both should do fine in the ground here.

Here's my ungrafted Nelly Kelly passionfruit vine. Even though it might be less vigorous than a grafted version, it won't send up suckers from the rootstock and we already have enough weird and wonderful weedy passionfruit on the property thank you! I will take cuttings from it when it gets older to make sure that we never have to buy another one. The vines last for about 7 years.

Here’s my ungrafted Nelly Kelly passionfruit vine. Even though it might be less vigorous than a grafted version, it won’t send up suckers from the rootstock and we already have enough weird and wonderful weedy passionfruit on the property thank you! I will take cuttings from it when it gets older to make sure that we never have to buy another one. The vines last for about 7 years.

While I was starting to plant out the cardamom the skies opened up and we got a torrential downpour. Steve and the dogs hid in the glasshouse but I decided to carry on planting

While I was starting to plant out the cardamom the skies opened up and we got a torrential downpour. Steve and the dogs hid in the glasshouse but I decided to carry on planting. Stevie-boy took this photo from the dry glasshouse while I was out in the rain

 

Here I am with a shirt full of spuds after slipping over in the slippery mud. I won't show you the back of my pants ;)

Here I am with a shirt full of spuds after slipping over in the slippery mud. I won’t show you the back of my pants ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are my 5 cherimoya seedlings loving the glasshouse temperatures and my little population of indigo seedlings that I am letting grow on a bit till I repot them.

Here are my 5 cherimoya seedlings loving the glasshouse temperatures and my little population of Moringaย seedlings that I am letting grow on a bit till I repot them. There are more moringa’s germinating every day so I will just let them grow a bit till I pot them up.

I potted up these 2 as they were growing well. The 4 pots in the rear contain some fresh macadamia nuts, 3 seeds in each pot (12 in total). In order to have the best chance of germination they need to be under 3 months old and they need to be planted with the blossom end sideways. Fingers crossed I get some to germinate and one day macadamia nut trees will grow on Serendipity Farm :)

I potted up these 2 as they were growing well. The 4 pots in the rear contain some fresh macadamia nuts, 3 seeds in each pot (12 in total). In order to have the best chance of germination they need to be under 3 months old and they need to be planted with the blossom end sideways. Fingers crossed I get some to germinate and one day macadamia nut trees will grow on Serendipity Farm ๐Ÿ™‚

We finally finished the water wicked strawberry bed. Here is a strawberry blond dog inspecting the bed for comforts sake

We finally finished the water wicked strawberry bed. Here is a strawberry blond dog inspecting the bed for comforts sake

After being busted for pelting through one of my garden beds, Earl has retreated to his favourite spot in Sanctuary to sulk...

After being busted for pelting through one of my garden beds, Earl has retreated to his favourite spot in Sanctuary to sulk… I am not holding out much hope for my poor strawberries once I get around to replanting them in here ๐Ÿ˜‰

Isn't this tuberous begonia pretty? I bought some a few years ago that were in the plant throw-out bin at a local nursery for $2 each. I ended up with 3 of them that grow and flower ever year. Lovely leaves and lovely flowers and very easy to grow.

Isn’t this tuberous begonia pretty? I bought some a few years ago that were in the plant throw-out bin at a local nursery for $2 each. I ended up with 3 of them that grow and flower ever year. Lovely leaves and lovely flowers and very easy to grow.

Steve took this shot of an interesting seaweed that had washed up on the beach the other day

Steve took this shot of an interesting seaweed that had washed up on the beach the other day

Lastly, I was just about to squash some aphids infesting the new growth on this loquat japonica when I noticed a ladybird was just about to do my job for me. I love it when natures cycles kick in to deal with our pests :)

Lastly, I was just about to squash some aphids infesting the new growth on this loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) when I noticed a ladybird was just about to do my job for me. I love it when natures cycles kick in to deal with our pests ๐Ÿ™‚

 

So that was our week folks. Pretty full on and we did, and accomplished a whole lot in this time. I hope that you all spent your time productively and enjoyably. I am off to cook a bechamel sauce for a lasagna that I am making Stevie-boy for his dinner tonight. He turns 50 on Tuesday, the day after Australia Day, so he will get an extra special dinner on that night and a very scrumptious cake. See you all next week and whatever you are doing, do it well. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A post full of wonderful insight and hope…

Hi All,

I know, “it isn’t Wednesday yet, what is Narf up to?” Well sometimes I feel the need to share blog posts because they are powerful, they move me or they are just glorious. This blog post is a combination of the three. A survival story cram packed with the best advice I have heard in a long time. To anyone going through a bad or rough patch, please take the time to read this blog post. It might just infuse you with hope. It did me ๐Ÿ™‚

 

http://www.livinghomegrown.com/life-lessons-cancer/

Hot humid post in images

Hi All,

It is hot and humid here today after a solid torrential downpour that lasted all night. I think we woke up and had moved to Queensland! It was a toss-up between slaving over a hot blog post and giving you images today so I went with the images so to all of my dear constant readers who like words, you are going to have to satisfy yourself with the image captions. I hope it cools down soon or I will have to type my next blog post prostrate on the bathroom floor! Have a great week and see you next Wednesday…

Before we get down to garden business, look what arrived in the mail today just in time to get into today's blog post.Ms Pauline made me bunting and sent me some most desirable bottle caps that I don't have.

Before we get down to garden business, look what arrived in the mail today just in time to get into today’s blog post.Ms Pauline made me bunting and sent me some most desirable bottle caps that I don’t have.

And here is the gorgeous outdoor bunting that Ms Pauline created. Isn't she clever? It's beautiful Pauline and you are very clever and talented and I am in awe of your sewing ability :)

And here is the gorgeous outdoor bunting that Ms Pauline created. Isn’t she clever? It’s beautiful Pauline and you are very clever and talented and I am in awe of your sewing ability ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve has been going nuts with his new Nikon 7100. SO nuts in fact that I have had to take evasive action in order to prevent myself being photographed unmercilessly.

Steve has been going nuts with his new Nikon 7100. SO nuts in fact that I have had to take evasive action in order to prevent myself being photographed unmercilessly.

Steve took a series of photographs and used Photoshop to meld them into a panorama. This was taken at Beauty Point this week when we were walking the dogs.

Steve took a series of photographs and used Photoshop to meld them into a panorama. This was taken at Beauty Point this week when we were walking the dogs.

Here's another panorama taken further down the beach. This is Bezial's absolutely favourite place to be as he occasionally gets allowed off leash and gets to have a swim. He tends to occupy his time hunting for (non existant) fish but whatever floats your boat Bezial ;). He only ever goes up to his chest.

Here’s another panorama taken further down the beach. This is Bezial’s absolutely favourite place to be as he occasionally gets allowed off leash and gets to have a swim. He tends to occupy his time hunting for (non existant) fish but whatever floats your boat Bezial ;). He only ever goes up to his chest.

I thought this was a nice photo of Earl standing on the deck and as he has fans out there, I decided to share it with you. You know who you are ;)

I thought this was a nice photo of Earl standing on the deck and as he has fans out there, I decided to share it with you. You know who you are ๐Ÿ˜‰

We walked in a sticky hot Beaconsfield today and the sole saving grace was this find...the blackberries are starting to ripen! This small enclave of blackberries are always the best so now that I know that they are starting to ripen, we will be visiting Beaconsfield quite a lot ;)

We walked in a sticky hot Beaconsfield today and the sole saving grace was this find…the blackberries are starting to ripen! This small enclave of blackberries are always the best so now that I know that they are starting to ripen, we will be visiting Beaconsfield quite a lot ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is the cloud cover we are getting today. It is hot, sticky and very opressive. It happens whenever there is a cyclone on the top end of Australia and they decide to share their humidity with us (how generous Queensland! ;) )

This is the cloud cover we are getting today. It is hot, sticky and very opressive. It happens whenever there is a cyclone on the top end of Australia and they decide to share their humidity with us (how generous Queensland! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

These are shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum...I know, hilarious isn't it and who says that horticulturalists have no sense of humour ;) ). They are very easy to grow and will grow in the most inhospitable conditions. We have a lot of them dotted around Serendipity Farm.

These are shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum…I know, hilarious isn’t it and who says that horticulturalists have no sense of humour ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). They are very easy to grow and will grow in the most inhospitable conditions. We have a lot of them dotted around Serendipity Farm.

I appear to have a gnome in Sanctuary. The grass that you can see growing here is about to get a haircut but it was too hot to do it today so you have to see it unkempt and feral (it's usual state ;) )

I appear to have a gnome in Sanctuary. The grass that you can see growing here is about to get a haircut but it was too hot to do it today so you have to see it unkempt and feral (it’s usual state ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). I decided not to waste last years Christmas tree and am going to use it as an artistic plant stake.

I grew some trays of kale (2 kinds), cabbages and cauliflowers after looking at the back of the packet of seeds and seeing that they could be planted through summer here. They fibbed. Apparently they should be considered winter crops so I just left them outside the glasshouse and forgot about them. Some of them were still alive the other day so I took pity on the survivors and planted them out in the main garden.

I grew some trays of kale (2 kinds), cabbages and cauliflowers after looking at the back of the packet of seeds and seeing that they could be planted through summer here. They fibbed. Apparently they should be considered winter crops so I just left them outside the glasshouse and forgot about them. Some of them were still alive the other day so I took pity on the survivors and planted them out in the main garden.

One of my natural pest strategies and the top of the food chain in Sanctuary (if you don't count that big toad I rehoused in amongst the oak leaves). There are lizards everywhere inside the safety of Sanctuary and they, in turn are eating many of the pests that invade. We have a bit of a grasshopper plague at the moment but I am going to leave them to the lizards unless they build up numbers and then I will have to formulate an alternative plan...

One of my natural pest strategies and the top of the food chain in Sanctuary (if you don’t count that big toad I rehoused in amongst the oak leaves). There are lizards everywhere inside the safety of Sanctuary and they, in turn are eating many of the pests that invade. We have a bit of a grasshopper plague at the moment but I am going to leave them to the lizards unless they build up numbers and then I will have to formulate an alternative plan…

These are apparently "Egyptian brown beans". Forgive me but they look a whole lot like broad beans to me! ;)

These are apparently “Egyptian brown beans”. Forgive me but they look a whole lot like broad beans to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Silverbeet growing well and pots of transplanted artichokes

Silverbeet growing well and pots of transplanted globe artichokes with the ever-present lurking lesser spotted tomato photo-bombing

Silverbeet going to seed and scarlet runner beans

Silverbeet going to seed and scarlet runner beans. The wooden pole is to stop the possums bouncing up and down to reach the green foliage

My lone tomatillo. I have others planted out in one of the new garden beds but this one has flowers and is making a statement. I have never grown tomatillos before so it will be interesting to see how they perform

My lone tomatillo. I have others planted out in one of the new garden beds but this one has flowers and is making a statement. I have never grown tomatillos before so it will be interesting to see how they perform. Every tomato in this garden bed was self seeded.

A compost bucket grown potato with one of the grasshoppers that should feed the lizards nicely for the next few weeks :)

A compost bucket grown potato with one of the grasshoppers that should feed the lizards nicely for the next few weeks ๐Ÿ™‚

Our kafir lime tree. It will be feeling right at home with this sticky tropical weather!

Our kafir lime tree. It will be feeling right at home with this sticky tropical weather!

I only planted these beetroot seeds the other day. They must like the conditions. This is my first attempt at succession planting. Their brothers are big enough to eat now so I figured I would grow some more to stave off that "I wish I had planted more!" condition.

I only planted these beetroot seeds the other day. They must like the conditions. This is my first attempt at succession planting. Their brothers are big enough to eat now so I figured I would grow some more to stave off that “I wish I had planted more!” condition.

The Chaotic state of the garden beds in Sanctuary. I go by the CHAOS theory, you "chuck handfuls all over space". My ethos! I like to think that in all of the mass confusion, the pests are unable to decide what they will eat first and die of anorexia...I like to think that but I doubt that it is true ;)

The Chaotic state of the garden beds in Sanctuary. I go by the CHAOS theory, you “chuck handfuls all over space”. My ethos! I like to think that in all of the mass confusion, the pests are unable to decide what they will eat first and die of anorexia…I like to think that but I doubt that it is true ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of the new garden beds with basil planted out. I don't like basil. Stevie-boy doesn't like basil...why did we plant it? Because our friend likes basil and gave us the seeds. I think it was a hint.

One of the new garden beds with basil planted out. I don’t like basil. Stevie-boy doesn’t like basil…why did we plant it? Because our friend likes basil and gave us the seeds. I think it was a hint.

This area was where the pumpkins grew from a pile of compost last year up at the rear of Sanctuary. It was a very dry, hot area and I was wondering what to plant there this year when some pumpkins sprouted and a couple of tomato plants so I took that as a statement of posession and left them to it. I added a large marigold to the mix and some Jerusalem artichokes as they will grow on a hot tin roof. So far, they all seem to be getting along famously...we shall see...

This area was where the pumpkins grew from a pile of compost last year up at the rear of Sanctuary. It was a very dry, hot area and I was wondering what to plant there this year when some pumpkins sprouted and a couple of tomato plants so I took that as a statement of posession and left them to it. I added a large marigold to the mix and some Jerusalem artichokes as they will grow on a hot tin roof. So far, they all seem to be getting along famously…we shall see…

We cut the grapes back to single leaders (as per instruction from a tutorial we found online) and they are going gangbusters now. Apparently we need to let them go mental this year to achieve their final height and we need to make sure that we pull off all of the fruiting bunches for the first 3 years to let the plant strengthen to get the best grapes. We have 7 of these muscat grape vines planted out together that we grew from cuttings so one day we will have plenty of grapes for eating and for turning into muscatel raisins :)

We cut the grapes back to single leaders (as per instruction from a tutorial we found online) and they are going gangbusters now. Apparently we need to let them go mental this year to achieve their final height and we need to make sure that we pull off all of the fruiting bunches for the first 3 years to let the plant strengthen to get the best grapes. We have 7 of these muscat grape vines planted out together that we grew from cuttings so one day we will have plenty of grapes for eating and for turning into muscatel raisins ๐Ÿ™‚

These are sweet potato leaves. Apparently they are just about to go ballistic and I am going to have to keep them in check with the whipper snipper but I don't care because the leaves are edible and so narf will be tucking into both ends of the prolific sweet potato with gleeful abandon :)

These are sweet potato leaves. Apparently they are just about to go ballistic and I am going to have to keep them in check with the whipper snipper but I don’t care because the leaves are edible and so narf will be tucking into both ends of the prolific sweet potato with gleeful abandon ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Wednesday they were stalks, this Wednesday they are leafy and next week they will probably be about half a metre tall and covered with leaves. Spuds don't muck around!

Last Wednesday they were stalks, this Wednesday they are leafy and next week they will probably be about half a metre tall and covered with leaves. Spuds don’t muck around!

More pumpkins and my cucamelon (also called "Mouse melons") babies in their weld-mesh tube

More pumpkins and my cucamelon (also called “Mouse melons”) babies in their weld-mesh tube

This garden bed has eggplants, basil, tiny tim tomatoes, tomatillos and chillies in it. They were languishing in the glasshouse and I had nowhere to plant them but now I do so in they went! I have put silverbeet, perennial spinach and some other seeds that I have NO idea what they are (and the beetroots) in here as well. I found the seed packets where I had forgotten them a while ago and the snails had eaten the outer packets. I could recognise the spinach but the others are mystery seeds. Here's to interesting gardens! ;)

This garden bed has eggplants, basil, tiny tim tomatoes, tomatillos and chillies in it. They were languishing in the glasshouse and I had nowhere to plant them but now I do so in they went! I have put silverbeet, perennial spinach and some other seeds that I have NO idea what they are (and the beetroots) in here as well. I found the seed packets where I had forgotten them a while ago and the snails had eaten the outer packets. I could recognise the spinach but the others are mystery seeds. Here’s to interesting gardens! ๐Ÿ˜‰

One of my experimental compost beds. I dumped buckets of compost into these areas and covered them with aged horse manure and oak leaves and have some interesting things growing out of the mix but mostly potatoes and pumpkins.

One of my experimental compost beds. I dumped buckets of compost into these areas and covered them with aged horse manure and oak leaves and have some interesting things growing out of the mix but mostly potatoes and pumpkins.

Leeks and carrots that went to seed. I plan on collecting the seed when they get around to ripening

Leeks and carrots that went to seed. I plan on collecting the seed when they get around to ripening

I don't think I will plant zucchini's next year. I either end up with blossom end rot or with so many zucchini's I can't even think straight. I might go with pattypan squash next year.

I don’t think I will plant zucchini’s next year. I either end up with blossom end rot or with so many zucchini’s I can’t even think straight. I might go with pattypan squash next year.

More pumpkins... can you tell I love them? ;) All of these pumpkins grew from compost bins. I didn't plant a single pumpkin this year.

More pumpkins… can you tell I love them? ๐Ÿ˜‰ All of these pumpkins grew from compost bins. I didn’t plant a single pumpkin this year.

These look like "plums" to me, but they could also be sloes. I threw all of my old fruit seeds that I collected into the compost heaps and am digging out anything that resembles fruit as it pops up.

These look like “plums” to me, but they could also be sloes. I threw all of my old fruit seeds that I collected into the compost heaps and am digging out anything that resembles fruit as it pops up. Don’t you love our rustic glasshouse floor? ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

My turmeric are up again and I NEED to get a garden bed dug for both them and the cardamom that is threatening to give up the ghost if I don't plant them out.

My turmeric are up again and I NEED to get a garden bed dug for both them and the cardamom that is threatening to give up the ghost if I don’t plant them out.

This year we plant out all of our combined nut trees that we have been growing on for a few years now. Most of these are walnuts but there is an avocado in the mix as well.

This year we plant out all of our combined nut trees that we have been growing on for a few years now. Most of these are walnuts but there is an avocado in the mix as well.

This is a cutting grown myer lemon that I am just about to plant out

This is a cutting grown myer lemon that I am just about to plant out

 

Baby indigo seedlings (Indigofera tinctoria) for future dyeing "events" on Serendipity Farm

Baby indigo seedlings (Indigofera tinctoria) for future dyeing “events” on Serendipity Farm

Baby Moringa trees (moringa oleifera) that have the awesome reputation of every single part of them being useful. When they first sprout they look like blades of grass and I almost pulled the biggest one out!

Baby Moringa trees (moringa oleifera) that have the awesome reputation of every single part of them being useful. When they first sprout they look like blades of grass and I almost pulled the biggest one out!

We still have raspberries ripening inside Sanctuary

We still have raspberries ripening inside Sanctuary

Blackberries ripening...

Blackberries ripening…

Inside Sanctuary..."EEK!"

Inside Sanctuary…”EEK!”

Earl protected baby figs

Earl protected baby figs

Earl protected nectarines!

Earl protected nectarines!

But wait...there's MORE! Earl has done an amazing job of teaching the possums who is boss inside his new compound and patrols all hours of the day and night so that the possums don't get comfortable with "routine" ;)

But wait…there’s MORE! Earl has done an amazing job of teaching the possums who is boss inside his new compound and patrols all hours of the day and night so that the possums don’t get comfortable with “routine” ๐Ÿ˜‰

The very first fig(let) to ripen on Serendipity Farm :)

The very first fig(let) to ripen on Serendipity Farm ๐Ÿ™‚

Blueberries! :)

Blueberries! ๐Ÿ™‚

This is a piece of snapped off blueberry "stick" that I shoved into the ground when it was snapped off while we were covering the blueberries and it has struck! A new baby blueberry in Sanctuary :)

This is a piece of snapped off blueberry “stick” that I shoved into the ground when it was snapped off while we were covering the blueberries and it has struck! A new baby blueberry in Sanctuary ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve had me splashing this water under instruction the other day "No...don't splash there, splash in the middle, but splash "quickly" and make a wave..." (sigh...)

Steve had me splashing this water under instruction the other day “No…don’t splash there, splash in the middle, but splash “quickly” and make a wave…” (sigh…). This is one of the birdbaths on Serendipity Farm. The wasps were a bit upset at having to wait for Steve’s artistic creativity to wane before they could get another drink ๐Ÿ˜‰

I managed to get some fresh macadamia nuts. In order to get the best chance of germination, they need to be under 3 months old so I soaked them overnight and have 12 macadamia nuts potted up. I love adding new possibilities to Serendipity Farm :)

I managed to get some fresh macadamia nuts. In order to get the best chance of germination, they need to be under 3 months old so I soaked them overnight and have 12 macadamia nuts potted up. I love adding new possibilities to Serendipity Farm ๐Ÿ™‚

Steve playing the mouth organ for the dogs to howl to...we have our telly, they get to howl. It's a fair swap ;)

Steve playing the mouth organ for the dogs to howl to…we have our telly, they get to howl. It’s a fair swap ๐Ÿ˜‰

These are 2 bowls of porridge for the next few days. This mornings breakfast consisted of ground up millet, brown rice, sesame seeds, chickpeas, green and yellow split peas, lentils and barley with coconut and dates. It tasted a whole lot better than you would think ;)

These are 2 bowls of porridge for the next few days. This mornings breakfast consisted of ground up millet, brown rice, sesame seeds, chickpeas, green and yellow split peas, lentils and barley with coconut and dates. It tasted a whole lot better than you would think ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are what's left of our potted babies. Can you spot the intruder in the midst? ;)

Here are what’s left of our potted babies. Can you spot the intruder in the midst? ๐Ÿ˜‰

The view of sodden Serendipity Farm this morning. Note the debris on the driveway

The view of sodden Serendipity Farm this morning. Note the debris on the driveway

A sodden (as opposed to "sodding") rooster on the lawn

A sodden (as opposed to “sodding”) rooster on the lawn

Steve wants me to show you the metal shovel that he bought for me the other day. It cost him $4.95 and is completely made of welded metal. Is there anyone else out there wondering how on EARTH you could make a shovel from go to whoa for $4.95?! Steve says that this proves that he loves me. When you buy your wife a shovel, that's true love ;)

Steve wants me to show you the metal shovel that he bought for me the other day. It cost him $4.95 and is completely made of welded metal. Is there anyone else out there wondering how on EARTH you could make a shovel from go to whoa for $4.95?! Steve says that this proves that he loves me. Anyone can suck up to their wife with flowers or chocolates but when you are comfortable enough to buy your wife a shovel, that’s true love ๐Ÿ˜‰

Well, as Bug’s Bunny would say…”That’s all folks!”

 

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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