When someone else’s memories cost you 22 dollars


The first garage sale house of the day , isn’t that a lovely maple

Hi All,

Fran is very busy today so I am posting the photos and captions for them ok so its my fault not hers 🙂

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Garage sale dogs like junk yard dogs but they are after the junk 🙂

What is it about “artefacts” that makes us curious and want to fossick around? It’s the same thing that has us wanting to pull up the collective psychiatrists couch whenever people reminisce and say “tell us more…” Today’s post is all about “What I got at The Progressive Garage Sale” a small thesis of less than (I PROMISE) 2800 words but my introduction is about the value of collective memories and how important they are to society as a whole (and that, I am reserving for my REAL thesis! 😉 ). I got a memo that my sister Pinky of http://cathyandchucky.com/ blogging fame had posted another post. I love using an RSS Feed Reader; it does all the hard work for me and keeps my email account free of post reminders. In her latest post she shared a magnificent chunky lamb shank soup that she has been making for many years. I remember the torn out page from the Australian woman’s weekly magazine that she took the recipe from being carefully folded up and covered in indeterminate stains. I wrote the recipe out myself because this soup is a winner. The mug that she used for her soup was one of the enormous mugs that I used for my (buckets) cups of tea while we chatted. Pictures and “things” are what memories are made of.


This is where we bought our computer throne from a few years ago (see past posts)

In saying that, I just bought a stack of past and future “memories”.  I paid $22 Aussie dollars for a whole stack of other people’s memories that I can only begin to wonder about. Our adventure began a few weeks ago when we remembered that pretty soon the annual progressive garage sale would be upon us for another year. We stumbled across the very first on 2 years ago when we were heading out to walk the dogs. If it wasn’t for the very first progressive garage sale, we wouldn’t have Big Yin and his original cohorts. We bought them as teeny little chicks and today they are the equivalent of Somalian pirates on Serendipity Farm…no sooner do you set foot outside the safety of your back gate and attempt to navigate the high seas of Serendipity Farm then you are set upon by wayfaring pirates attempting to rob you of everything of worth. The first year we spent a fair bit at the progressive garage sale. There were lots of vendors and plenty of bargains to be had and our chooks (8 in all) added to the cost. Last year we spent $27 and ended up with a higgledy piggledy mass of “stuff” to delight my hoarding heart. This year we spend $22 and despite the few vendors who had decided to take part we were still able to arrive back home laden with goodies


Fran caught unawares by my lens 🙂

We had contacted the lovely Lisa of obvious Scottish heritage who runs the Artisan gallery and who appears to be the poor lost soul that got stuck with organising this massive event each year. Last year she had a list of garage sales that you could print out and head directly to with a short list of what they were offering. This year she was a bit savvier and only gave the list out on Friday evening. The problem is that here in Tassie we have more than our fair share of “traders”…markets, antique sellers and general EBay vultures who like to predate garage sales, auctions and house clearance sales with a view to robbing them blind and making the maximum profit. They descend on garage sales 2 hours before the assigned time and try to get the very best for the very cheapest. Vendors are sick to death of them but they are like seagulls at the tip, unfortunately inevitable.


What a lovely garden this is in autumn

This year, a group of local Kayena dwellers decided to tag onto the end of the garage sale and we headed up to check it out. I managed to get an Italian glass litre wine carafe for $1 that I am now using for my homemade non-dairy milk. I also bought a stainless steel teapot/jug, a copy of a wonderful Permaculture book and a 1971 “Mrs Beeton’s cookbook in colour” for 50c each. I noticed a stone bottle that now lives in Steve’s room for $1 and I got about 10kg of various types of apples for $3. All in all a very good start to the day. I decided that if we didn’t get anything else in the entire garage sale, this one stop was worth driving to. Aside from getting some great bargains, we met the man that bought my brothers property over in Kayena and who owns the local school bus route. He and his wife are very nice people and he told me that whenever I fancy some horse or cow manure, I just had to call and he would let me collect as much as I like! Considering this man owns most of the farmland in Sidmouth, Rowella and Kayena (along with a share in the local dairy) I figure the supply might just be big enough for my aspirations! ;). Apparently the vultures had turned up to this garage sale at 7.30…sigh…


This is all the house the chair came from , its nice eh

We continued on to the next garage sale at Iron Pot Bay winery. We arrived at 8.55am and slowly walked down the driveway to be met by an irate elderly man who told us in no uncertain terms to “PISS OFF!” We thought that he was joking at first, but after he told us that “This bloody garage sale doesn’t start till 9am!” and I said “Ok…so we will just wait here then…” and he said “no you bloody well won’t! You can head right back up that driveway quick smart!”…O…K…SOMEONE woke up on the wrong side of the bed! I dare say the vultures had been predating since 7am and this elderly gentleman had just about had enough! Steve wasn’t in the mood to be garage saling at this residence after our less than lukewarm welcome so we headed off to the next stop post haste!


not sure why the time is this but it must mean something to the owners

We arrived at the next garage sale (after checking that it was AFTER 9am…fool us once! 😉 ) where we got my blackwood throne (my computer chair) for $2 last year and managed to score a large cray pot for $5 and a wonderful wrought iron old single bed head for $2. We couldn’t take them with us because we had the dogs with us (they were “supposedly” behaving and we would take them to the beach as a reward for all of the stops…) and so I waved goodbye to my bargains and Steve was going to head back to pick them up after dropping us at home after we had finished garage saling and walking the dogs. The rest of the garage sales seemed to be condensed into a single neighbourhood and we walked to most of them. I could hear a grumpy man armed with what must have been most of the garage sale that we were heading to saying to his wife “she TOLD me I could have it for $5!”… It would seem that the antique brass plaque that he was toting might have cost him a teensy bit more? Oh how TERRIBLE sir? 😉


Liquid ambers at there best

I was more interested in taking photos of the delicious autumn colours than I was in hunting. I was already more than happy with the bargains that we had bought and by the time we arrived at the Deviot Hall we met Jenny, our friend from the bush who had just found a small folding table and 2 enormous wisteria poles for a bargain price. She was going one way…we were going the other and so we headed off to see what was still on offer at either end of the spectrum. After finding a few more small bargains including a nice stainless steel “Coffee” canister that now contains my tea-bags (tea thieves beware!) we headed off to the beach much to the relief of Earl and Bezial who were WELL over our ridiculous need to stop and start every 5 minutes when it was more than obvious we were headed to “THE BEACH!”


Pretty house isn’t it

By the time we got to said beach, the dogs were overexcited and practically jumped into the front with us before we stopped the car. We had a lovely “drag” around Paper Beach and I collected some lovely smooth beach pebbles. We might not have lovely white sand like the beaches in Western Australia (or the East coast of Tassie for that matter…) but what we lack in pristine white, we make up for in gorgeous smooth pebbles and rocks. Swings and roundabouts…  I have been surreptitiously collecting the odd pebble here and there whenever we walk on the beach and put them in my potted plants and dot them around our home. I am a quintessential reformed pack rat who has a need to collect. I try to give away as much as I collect now to redress the balance quotient but the need is still strong in this (not so) young padawan.


Wish our drive was like this oh and that’s our cray pot in the shot 😉

We arrived home triumphant and while I took photos and then put our bargains to work for us Steve headed back to pick up our craypot and bed head. The craypot is not situated on our deck stairs and the bedhead is going to become an ornate gate down in the garden dividing one secret garden from the next. The only thing that hasn’t quite found a place to live yet is a small watercolour painting that I picked up for $2. I just liked it. Someone had gifted this original artwork to someone else and it has an inscription on the back…more memories that obviously weren’t all that important any more. Time to create some new memories with my bargains and take them off on another tangent on Serendipity Farm and as most of them won’t be being used for the purpose for which they were created; at least they will get a second chance in the great memories sweepstakes


colours of nature are so bright

It’s raining on Serendipity Farm. Nothing unexpected about rain in autumn but this is our first real rainy day in ages and it came smack bang on the day that we were all going to head into the city to accomplish an amazing array of “stuff”…does anyone else get the feeling that someone out there has a great sense of humour? ;). The dogs are now sulking because they were expecting to go to town and have a ball and I am sulking because “I” was expecting to go to town and have a ball but in the end, the trailer got disconnected and poor Steve had to go to town and do everything himself. There are benefits in that he will be back a good 3 hours before we would have otherwise been back and when he gets in, I can take over putting things away, unloading groceries and dividing up the dogs meat into meal sized portions for the freezer. As carbon savvy consumers we tend not to use our car much these days. We walk the dogs locally most of the time and only use the car if we need to go further afield than our 2 feet are willing to take us. A 100km round trip is out of the question and so sulking dogs and a less than impressed “Fran” remain at home.


More hunters

Steve will be pricing up timber for making 2 custom low seating units either side of Brunhilda. We don’t want to waste space and are designing wood storage into these units. They will be predominately for the dogs to use as beds over winter but will be great for stretching out and reading a book on our cold days. This rain might have forced me indoors but it is also soaking the rock hard soil where we need to dig holes and will make our job tomorrow a whole lot easier. Steve and I have trepidations about digging holes on Serendipity Farm. We know, from past experience, that digging a “hole” is a whole lot harder than it might initially sound. Our soil is littered with rocks of various sizes and 20cm down we have solid yellow clay that you could make pots out of. It’s probably what has kept us on track with our studies…we had 2 choices…”study” or “dig a hole”…studying won! ;). We can’t put it off any longer and as founding members of the Serendipity Farm procrastinators society we have both agreed (after a few cups of tea, hanging a load of washing out, baking some biscuits and tinkering around in the shed…) to get stuck into digging some holes. Once the holes are dug it will be somewhat smooth sailing, it’s just the digging of the holes that has us twitching.


Apparently these people camped out in anticipation lol

I have 35 photos to share with you all today so I might just leave this post a little shorter than usual. I am going to head off now and do something positive with the rest of my morning before Steve gets back home. I might do some dusting…the spiders have been getting cheeky lately and I think it is time to remind them that we have a mutual agreement…I let them eat our flies and they keep their webs to the corners of the room…I noticed one festooned across the ceiling yesterday so time to make the advancing hoards retreat! See you all on Wednesday folks :o)


Some spoils of the hunt


Treasure and some nice apples


22$ can go a long way


Ahh crays ahead


This will become a gate one day soon


Apparently I like pot ….


Finally finished and Bezials happy


A very pretty vine on our way to the beach


Beach stones Fran loves stones

A waltz with the front gate

Hi All,

I have been on a journey of discovery lately and realise that I am indeed at my happiest when I have little well-worn ruts to follow. I like to embellish my ruts but I do like to run my life over their smooth edges and know that I have been here before and that there are no monsters waiting to jump out at me as I hack my way through unfamiliar tundra with the twin machetes of adventure and change. I realise that I am bucking current societal trends here. I don’t really care. Society hasn’t ever been one of my primary concerns and you are all just lucky that I don’t have (or at least exhibit…) psychopathic tendencies. I again found myself gliding along a path well-trodden when I opened the gate yesterday…I felt my passenger seat dance starting halfway down the driveway…”hand lightly resting on the door release…1…2…3…OPEN the door…out and 1…2…3…steps to the gate…key in the padlock and TWIST…flip the gate catch and 1…2…3…release the gate…hook up the metal rod holding the other gate in place and “click” into place…now comes the dance…walking with the gate and pirouetting deftly to turn and walk back with the gate…1…2…3…”pirouette”…1…2…3…”turn” now reach for the other gate and 1…2…3…pull it back to the first gate, drop the metal rod into its hole in the ground, flip over the latch…”click” the padlock closed and 1…2…3…back to the car and away! As I ruminated about where we were going I suddenly realised that I had entirely choreographed our entry and exit from our property…I had taken my familiar task and tarted it up to make it mine. I guess my well-worn pathways might be entirely familiar BUT I have most certainly made them my own and as anyone who knows me well will tell you…there is usually a bit of a twist…my personal choice of soundtrack for my newly discovered gate waltz shall be the late great Keith Floyd’s own personal soundtrack for his series of booze sodden foodie adventures and the song that Steve travelled all the way to London when he was 14 to hear The Stranglers perform first up in the opening night of their 1979 tour at The Hammersmith Odeon in London… “


Waltzinblack by the stranglers … How cool is it that I am married to an original retro punk turned Goth! I am still waiting for the “cool” to rub off on me though! As the summer starts to heat up we are just starting to get stuck into our garden. It’s a situation that we would rather have accomplished earlier in the year when the soil wasn’t setting like porcelain and we had a lot more rain but such is the life of a perpetual student and it all adds to the fact that we sleep like babies every night after a hard days slog in the garden. I just have to add quickly here…I am NOT going to endorse Dawn French as a writer. I did my best Dawn…I admire you incredibly as an actress but I don’t think you are going to give anyone a run for their money as a writer :o(…back to what we are doing…we have spent the past few days cutting ex-fish farm netting and removing rope and yesterday (Thursday) we finally got to the point where we could start nailing it to the poles that we have already dug into the ground. We used the rocks that hamper our every move when trying to navigate the world below the ground as our allies this time and once we managed to dig a hole deep enough for the poles (no easy feat…believe me!) we backfilled the holes with various sized rocks and sledgehammered them in to wedge our poles in place. We are not expecting ninjas to be climbing this fence but you would be surprised at the heft a well fed possum can apply to a sagging chook fence so we took this into consideration when burying our poles.


Earthstar fungus that we found on a recent early morning dog walk


The ghost of teasels past and present


I am amazed that these Melaleuca’s are able to grow and flourish whilst being subject to spending several hours a day under salt water


Samphire growing amongst the pebbles on Paper Beach


part of the beach circuit that we sometimes walk with the boys


A bag full of tiny pinecones that we collected to use for Christmas crafts


Taken at night time of the moon over the river


Isn’t this yucca flower spike amazing?


Looking back across the river towards our place

We took our first 20metre x 2.5 metre length of netting and managed to get halfway around our designated area before the skies opened and it rained for the rest of the afternoon…a most curious eventuality because the only other rain that we have had for a while now occurred when we were digging the poles into the ground…I am starting to see a pattern here and whenever we need rain from now on I am going to stand on the deck and pronounce loudly to the ears in the sky that “I am just heading off to the chook yard to dig/nail/windmill my arms around”. Never let it be said that I can’t adapt to the status quo! It’s Friday and we are going to attempt to finish off our new chook pen today. Once we have finished the boundary fence we can start piling up rocks around the outside to prevent the quolls from tunnel mining and reducing our already reduced population of girls. We have already thought of this and will keep shutting them into the fully enclosed roost at night…so many country lessons to learn and so little time to learn them in! After we finish the chook pen we have a plethora of tasks to wade through…piles of woody debris will be relocated, feral cats will be dealt with, irrigation will be constructed and placed and mountains of green waste will be consumed in a matter of minutes by a massive hungry (and most prohibitively expensive) hired mulcher. We plan on removing old overgrown “hedging” (now half dead and as ugly as sin) from the boundary between Serendipity Farm and the church below and in the process removing an entire thriving population of banana passionfruit clinging tenaciously to the half dead Robinia below. We will do the same thing with the sad Robinia “hedge” at the front of the property and will plant out a series of cherry plum trees interspersed with conifers as our own personal statement about what this property is becoming. The church might have to put up with our exposed chook coop but our remaining girls (we like to refer to them as “The Chosen One’s”…) will get a million dollar view of the river and let’s be honest here…the churchies come once a week…our girls will be in situ 24/7 so we figure the ball is in their court


We are getting some lovely weather here in Tasmania at the moment


Daredevil Steve relying on his old ability to skateboard to keep his balance while the most unpredictable of creatures frolic at the end of their newfound freedom giving long ropes


I love the smooth pebbles and rocks on Paper Beach


A barnacle heart!


More barnacle love 🙂


This little crane really didn’t want to move despite me walking Earl at the time…


The Batman Bridge that connects the West Tamar to the East Tamar


It’s hardly fun when the best thing to steal is a manky old wizened lemon…


Earl typing his resume

I am gearing up for my new year and my new year’s ethos. I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions…I just decide to effect a bit of change and as my “Year of Living Honestly” slowly slides into oblivion I can feel a “Year of Living Productively and Proactively” making that smooth baton change into place and I can’t wait to take the simple truths that I have learned this year and start working with them. I want to hone my skills (such as they are) and polish what I have been learning to turn it from raw earth into a perfect, rock hard Hikaru Dorodango of simple but incredible beauty. I want to move forward and sideways at the same time and I want to learn…oh MAN I want to learn!  That was just very curious…”Word” wanted me to change the first “learn” to “teach”…I want to teach? Not yet I don’t! I am too busy indulging myself in the wonder of learning as much as I can…it is no wonder that I sometimes have trouble finding what I want to say…my poor head is crammed so fun of “stuff” it makes my rss feed reader appear positively Spartan. I am also going to learn to hone my words…to take the mass of tangled bits and pieces that all clamour to be heard and listen carefully to each one to see if it really has a tale to tell. It’s year 2 of “The Road to Serendipity” and as with all serendipitous things, the true beauty of it lies in what you make of it…your choices. Next year you can look forward to shorter but more poignant posts and for all of my dear constant readers who have steadfastly refused to give up on my massive reflections…thank you and you SHALL go to the ball! ;)…before I go, here is a delightful English translation of how to make your own hikaru dorodango closely followed by another excellent tutorial. You know me, I can’t just go with the very first thing that I see 😉 …I will be making a Serendipity Farm dorodango to grace my curio cabinet and should you feel like making one yourself consider it my little gift to you…a study in patience 😉




A few Christmassy pictures to get you in the mood…Earl making snow…


The first Christmas Beetle of the season…


Steve performing magic with the Christmas Tree Lights…