Past, present and future

Hi All,

I hope everyone who celebrated Christmas has managed to not only survive, but have crawled out from under the bed and dusted themselves off and are now upright and functioning again. Stevie-boy and I had a really lovely Christmas. The day started out raining as we walked the boys but then suddenly the sun came out and the rest of the day was magnificent. I can’t remember much about it but then those fruit punch drinks that Steve was making me had a LOT of rum in them. We found an excellent Christmas music YouTube channel that kept us rocking and feeling particularly festive and I multi-tasked and managed to do 2 loads of Christmas washing and watered Sanctuary. The dogs were very suspicious of all of the festivities and point blank refused to eat any of the special treats that we gave them as we were obviously trying to poison them. Aside from the slinking suspicious dogs, Christmas was lovely

Steve's arty shot of his idea of the very best Christmas

Steve’s arty shot of his idea of the very best Christmas

Bezials idea of the very best Christmas

Bezials idea of the very best Christmas (note, the shorts were still intact in this image)

Narf7's idea of the very best Christmas. Earl was slinking around somewhere and is still suspicious of "Christmas" on the whole

Narf7’s idea of the very best Christmas. Earl was slinking around somewhere and is still suspicious of “Christmas” on the whole

I have decided not to make a New Year’s resolution because most resolutions are programmed to self-destruct by February. I have some plans for this year that include taking what I have learned in the past 50 years and applying it to the next 50 (should I be so lucky as to be gifted that kind of longevity). I have even started early and Stevie-boy and I have spent the last few days of 2014 working hard to make a good start in 2015. We shoveled 7 trailer loads of aged horse manure and rotting oak leaves from where they have studiously sat for many months now into our trusty little trailer and hauled them up the steep incline to the rear of Sanctuary whereby we removed the wallaby proof rocks on the base of the netting and backed the trailer in and shoveled it all out again.

Stevie-boy contemplating the consequences of his actions

Stevie-boy contemplating the consequences of his actions. Note Sanctuary is to the rear of Stevie-boy and open to the elements

Small tree down. Note the close proximity to the car when the cuts that we made were supposed to drop the tree in the other direction...maybe we should hand our chainsaw licenses back? ;)

Small tree down. Note the close proximity to the car when the cuts that we made were supposed to drop the tree in the other direction…maybe we should hand our chainsaw licenses back? 😉

Err...the fallen eucalyptus appears to be attempting to steal our car!

Err…the fallen eucalyptus appears to be attempting to steal our car!

Luckily, it doesn't have opposable thumbs (a problem that it shares with Earl) and thus was unable to make a fast getaway

Luckily, it doesn’t have opposable thumbs (a problem that it shares with Earl) and thus was unable to make a fast getaway

However it did leave behind several "passengers" that quickly took up residence and had to be forcibly evicted

However it did leave behind several “passengers” that quickly took up residence and had to be forcibly evicted. One or two of them even manged to keep their shed skins on their heads in the melee. Our car is now full of shed head stacker caterpillar skins…EWW!

Our plans were not without a degree of drama as we decided to remove a small eucalyptus tree that was growing in the way and if it wasn’t for Stevie-boys quick thinking (and fast arm) we might have dropped it directly on top of our car but his quick wits caused the canopy to end up in the front seat, delivering a collective of dazed head-stacker caterpillars onto the driver’s seat, well out of their natural habitat. We also had to heave a large rock out of the way to make backing the trailer up easier and in the process, Stevie-boy tore a hole in his favourite EVER shorts. Everything is OK though because I am going to use a recent blog post by the wonderfully creative hooky maestro Phil at the twisted yarn  to create some hooky magic to salve his shorty wounds…problem is, Stevie-boy apparently doesn’t want me to crochet a peacock on his nether regions (I KNOW what is wrong with the man? 😉 )

We headed out early to Paper Beach where our dogs love to walk and even though it was raining we attempted to inject some Christmas Spirit into the crowds of people that were yet to wake up and smell the Christmas Roses

We headed out early to Paper Beach where our dogs love to walk and even though it was raining we attempted to inject some Christmas Spirit into the crowds of people that were yet to wake up and smell the Christmas Roses

Stevie-boys wonderful new camera that makes him twitch with happiness and that hasn't been out of his hands since we bought it last week even though it is SUPPOSED to be for his 50th birthday next year...sigh...

Stevie-boys wonderful new camera that makes him twitch with happiness and that hasn’t been out of his hands since we bought it last week even though it is SUPPOSED to be for his 50th birthday next year…sigh…

So aside from some ripped shorts and some very sore fingers we have been doing a lot of maneuvering, moving and hauling on Serendipity Farm. We mean to start out as we are inclined to finish off 2015 by being very active in the garden and by making positive changes around here. We were recently given a trailer load of refractory bricks from a good friend and where once we were contemplating making an adobe pizza oven, our thoughts have now turned to a full on masonry oven. Hopefully 2015 will see it come into fruition. Steve suggested that I turn the spare room into a craft room and we spent some time moving furniture around (I would like to say dusting behind it but I didn’t so whatchagonnadoeh? 😉 ) and thinking about the possibility of moving the internet cord that Steve routed through the roof and into the lounge room for me to use the laptop while he watches TV that I am always too tired to use by the time I get into the lounge room, into the spare room, enabling me to be able to access the net in my new creative bolt hole.

Steve took this shot with his Canon on Christmas Day (prior to buying his new Nikon 7100 in an incredibly good sale in the city)

Steve took this shot with his Canon on Christmas Day (prior to buying his new Nikon 7100 in an incredibly good sale in the city) This was after the sun came out around mid day

This is Melaleuca alternafolia also known as "Snow in Summer". It's in flower all over the place at the moment. Who says we Aussies don't get "Snow" at Christmas time eh? ;)

This is Melaleuca alternafolia also known as “Snow in Summer”. It’s in flower all over the place at the moment. Who says we Aussies don’t get “Snow” at Christmas time eh? 😉

We headed into the city to buy Steve's camera on Saturday morning so we took the boys for a bit of a walk around the university arts campus. Here's Bezial posing with one of his kin...

We headed into the city to buy Steve’s camera on Saturday morning so we took the boys for a bit of a walk around the university arts campus. Here’s Bezial posing with one of his kin…

And here is Earl with his long suffering fat anchor posing on what can only be a metal dragon?!

And here is Earl with his long suffering fat anchor posing on what can only be a metal dragon?!

Steve got some nice shots of a tram that has been set up to take advantage of the tourist dollars flooding into the state at this time every year. The tram drivers were sitting in a little hut and didn't mind Steve taking a few photos as no-one else was around at the time. Isn't it pretty?

Steve got some nice shots of a tram that has been set up to take advantage of the tourist dollars flooding into the state at this time every year. The tram drivers were sitting in a little hut and didn’t mind Steve taking a few photos as no-one else was around at the time. Isn’t it pretty?

Towards the back of the tram

Towards the back of the tram

Not a lot of room for commuters and lots of room to stand up. Most probably a good thing that we don't use trams like this in the city any more or lazy commuters would complain ;)

Not a lot of room for commuters and lots of room to stand up. Most probably a good thing that we don’t use trams like this in the city any more or lazy commuters would complain 😉

 

The dogs were (again) suspicious of our actions. I keep reading things about how dogs are loyal and loving and never jealous or judgmental and obviously, the 2 furry things that we have living with us in the house on Serendipity Farm are not dogs because jealousy, suspicion, manipulation and dissent are their middle names. They slunk around as we tidied up and moved furniture and gave us pathetic enormous furry creature eyes in order to attempt to manipulate us to stop what we were doing and return to the status-quo. Bezial soon cheered up when he realised that the new craft room meant that he would be able to sleep on the bed in the spare room (covered with a nice thick blanket to prevent dog contact with the bed) and promptly lay down and wagged his tail. Earl isn’t so easily bought and has been keeping his eye on Steve and I now to make sure that we are not planning any funny business.

Stevie-boy with some wonderful Christmas earrings that he received as an Early Christmas gift this year ;) raising a toast to you all :)

Stevie-boy with some wonderful Christmas earrings that he received as an Early Christmas gift this year 😉 raising a toast to you all 🙂

From this point on, the photos in this post are all taken on Stevie-boys new precious baby. Feel honoured that he could tear himself away from taking artistic shots of butterflies to take a few photos for this post ;)

From this point on, the photos in this post are all taken on Stevie-boys new precious baby. Feel honoured that he could tear himself away from taking artistic shots of butterflies to take a few photos for this post 😉 These are the refractory fire bricks that a kind friend gave us in order to make a masonry oven, stacked up at the rear of the shed where spiders rule the roost

This is my Lazarus artichoke that rose from the dead stump and that now has 4 chokes on it. I am suitably delighted at both it's tenacity and it's desire to produce food despite it's recent traumatic events

This is my Lazarus artichoke that rose from the dead stump and that now has 4 chokes on it. I am suitably delighted at both it’s tenacity and it’s desire to produce food despite it’s recent traumatic events

This is a passionfruit. It is most likely to be one of those round yellow weed species with red fruit but at least it makes a change from the elongated yellow banana passionfruit with pink flowers that are the usual rulers of the weed species around here ;)

This is a passionfruit. It is most likely to be one of those round yellow weed species with red fruit but at least it makes a change from the elongated yellow banana passionfruit with pink flowers that are the usual rulers of the weed species around here 😉

Some of the blueberries that are growing in the enclosed "Blueberry hut" in front of the deck. I thought that they would die but they appear to have other ideas :)

Some of the blueberries that are growing in the enclosed “Blueberry hut” in front of the deck. I thought that they would die but they appear to have other ideas 🙂

Parsley futures

Parsley futures

Cherimoya futures (so far 3 of them : ) )

Cherimoya futures (so far 3 of them : ) ) You can see my cucamelons trying to take over the shot on the right hand side. I need to make a patch in the garden for them before they take over the glasshouse!

The one peach left on the tree that Earl is studiously protecting from the salivating possums

The one peach left on the tree that Earl is studiously protecting from the salivating possums

Stevie-boys amazing wood futures. Hardly any chopping to do in our 2015 winter period as this stack is only 1 of 4 other stacks that he recently worked very hard to create. He can put his feet up when it is raining and just stoke Brunhilda with joy :)

Stevie-boys amazing wood futures. Hardly any chopping to do in our 2015 winter period as this stack is only 1 of 4 other stacks that he recently worked very hard to create. He can put his feet up when it is raining and just stoke Brunhilda with joy 🙂

Earlier in the year we were gifted some very large, very old blueberry bushes from a friend who is moving out of the district. When we got them home we dug holes in the manure and oak leaf mountain that was in front of the deck at the time as a temporary home for them until we worked out where we wanted to put them. That was about 6 months ago and the blueberries that we expected to die, have taken off in their nice fertile home and are covered in berries that are all starting to ripen. We built a possum and wallaby proof structure around their perimeter and they have done so well (when everything that I read said that they hate being transplanted and would probably die) that they are going to be allowed to stay put where they are. My artichoke that was cruelly destroyed by anarchistic possums re-sprouted at the base of the stem and has regenerated enough to produce more artichokes. Aside from being magnificent architectural plants they are very hardy, are perennial and most importantly, they are edible. When you find a plant that is incredibly happy to grow in your particular environment and it isn’t a weed, treasure it. I treasure my artichokes and am just about to pot up 10 more to add to the mix when they get a bit older

Steve's new camera takes awesomely detailed images. My camera would just see this as a mass of shadows with a bit of blue water. His camera is much more detailed. This is the view through the Nikon 7100 from the deck. He hasn't learned how to use it properly yet so he says you are going to have to bear with him as he learns

Steve’s new camera takes awesomely detailed images. My camera would just see this as a mass of shadows with a bit of blue water. His camera is much more detailed. This is the view through the Nikon 7100 from the deck. He hasn’t learned how to use it properly yet so he says you are going to have to bear with him as he learns

This photo is one for the books. Steve NEVER reads anything, especially instruction manuals. He is actually reading this one for his new camera. I almost fainted when I saw this but recovered my composure enough to take this shot

This photo is one for the books. Steve NEVER reads anything, especially instruction manuals. He is actually reading this one for his new camera. I almost fainted when I saw this but recovered my composure enough to take this shot

The driveway looking back towards the house (just around the corner at the top of the driveway). I don't know how photos make everything look much better than it really does but I, for one, don't mind ;)

The driveway looking back towards the house (just around the corner at the top of the driveway). I don’t know how photos make everything look much better than it really does but I, for one, don’t mind 😉

We gave away 6 kitchen chairs that we no longer needed and Steve is going to re-purpose the kitchen table to make extra work benches in his shed. He plans on getting creative this year and his first project is to turn a large slab of myrtle that a friend gave us and a vintage wrought iron bed head into a bench for Sanctuary. We both have some creative plans that have us excited at the prospects of learning new skills and honing old ones. 2015 looms on the horizon as 365 days of wonderful possibilities, chances to grow, to learn, to live and to love. We are both planning on making the most of the opportunities that come to us this year, on expanding our horizons, on forging community, sharing our time and our energy productively and not wasting resources that come our way. We have lots of branches/debris littered all over Serendipity Farm and we could just burn them or we could cut up the branches into smaller pieces and make hugels out of them that we could cover with soil, leaves, compost, manure etc. and make the most of this resource, or we could turn it into bio char, another most valuable resource in the garden.

What have we here? It appears to be the glorious illustrations of one B.O. and half of the glorious team of Keith and Christi, the ex Olallaians who are now native Hawaiians. I wonder what they are sending me? (Steve would like it known that he is a hero for removing the address lines so well in Photoshop. Please feel free to marvel at his amazing skills in the comments below ;) )

What have we here? It appears to be the glorious illustrations of one B.O. and half of the glorious team of Keith and Christi, the ex Olallaians who are now native Hawaiians. I wonder what they are sending me? (Steve would like it known that he is a hero for removing the address lines so well in Photoshop. Please feel free to marvel at his amazing skills in the comments below 😉 )

Its an amazing banner! I am in the process of turning our spare room into a narfish craft room. Fuelled by Ms Pauline's glorious efforts I have decided to follow suit and get myself away to a creative place to commune with my muses. This 4 poster bed was built by Stevie-boy way back last century as a birthday gift to me. It was once 2ft taller than this but we cut it down to fit it into it's current situation. I am going to create an enclosed nook and this bed shall be my "creative space". Christi's banner and any other bunting/banners that I am most privilaged to receive from amazing people out in the wide world of the net that are not waterproof will be given a home in here. You will have to watch this space to see how this room evolves. I have wooden chairs to yarnbomb and a lampshade to do the same with so this is a work in progress. Thankyou with all of my heart to Christi, my twin in Hawaii who just knew instantly what I would love :)

Its an amazing banner! I am in the process of turning our spare room into a narfish craft room. Fuelled by Ms Pauline’s glorious efforts I have decided to follow suit and get myself away to a creative place to commune with my muses. This 4 poster bed was built by Stevie-boy way back last century as a birthday gift to me. It was once 2ft taller than this but we cut it down to fit it into it’s current situation. I am going to create an enclosed nook and this bed shall be my “creative space”. Christi’s banner and any other bunting/banners that I am most privilaged to receive from amazing people out in the wide world of the net that are not waterproof will be given a home in here. You will have to watch this space to see how this room evolves. I have wooden chairs to yarnbomb and a lampshade to do the same with so this is a work in progress. Thankyou with all of my heart to Christi, my twin in Hawaii who just knew instantly what I would love 🙂

Even Stevie-boys messy shed looks posed with his new camera ;)

Even Stevie-boys messy shed looks posed with his new camera 😉

Some of Steve's bonsai babies given the Nikon treatment

Some of Steve’s bonsai babies given the Nikon treatment

This one is for Linne. I love this shot! There is a pink t-shirt that had been used as a pumpkin sling last year in this image. Again, Stevie-boy has removed it. He did a good job didn't he? :).

This one is for Linne. I love this shot! There is a pink t-shirt that had been used as a pumpkin sling last year in this image. Again, Stevie-boy has removed it. He did a good job didn’t he? :).

There are so many possibilities for 2015 and it’s up to us to make the most of them. Here’s to a year of forging good community, of listening, creating, understanding and learning from our mistakes and here’s to each and every one of you, my dear constant readers, who has spent the time to come and read about what we are doing here and some of you have become very good friends. We thought about how to say thank you to you all and as we have been learning how to wangle some Adobe programs over the last few years we decided that we would attempt to make a calendar for you all to download and print off if you like. If anyone would like a background colour change or any special dates or text added please let us know and we can customise this basic calendar to your needs. Again, thank you all for your support through the year. Both Steve and I truly appreciate all of the comments, time and energy that you put into visiting Serendipity Farm. We have made some truly wonderful online friends through this humble little blog and hope to see you all in 2015. Happy New Year and here’s to many more 🙂

Calander 2015

Where narf contemplates her naval in the dark and learns to live like Earl

Hi All,

I have been press ganged into assisting Stevie-boy in building the new perimeter fence for our house block. The old one just skimmed the house area and didn’t give our dogs much room to exercise and we promised ourselves that this year we would give them somewhere to run, to sniff, to pee and to lie on the cool earth when our long dry summer starts to heat up at the end of February. We finally managed to massage the funds out of the poor long suffering moth eaten sock under the bed. I am considering crowd funding to put it into therapy, and so we find ourselves with the materials, and the time, to facilitate change. (It’s now Wednesday and we facilitated a whole LOT of change and as promised, here is the video of the dogs being released into their larger compound…)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGo9fDV2v_g

 

Buckwheat porridge made with pureed pumpkin and steamed apple. It tastes like rockmelon. Pinterest is keeping me company ;)

Buckwheat porridge made with pureed pumpkin and steamed apple. It tastes like rockmelon. Pinterest is keeping me company 😉

I bought these orchids for $3 a pot at a stall outside the polling booth at the last elections. They were the best thing that happened that day ;)

I bought these orchids for $3 a pot at a stall outside the polling booth at the last elections. They were the best thing that happened that day 😉

Steve's bonsai maple and conifer. The maple was taken from under the big Japanese maple at the front steps back when we didn't live here. It was a tiny seedling and it is now a lovely bonsai. This is it's new seasons growth.

Steve’s bonsai maple and conifer. The maple was taken from under the big Japanese maple at the front steps back when we didn’t live here. It was a tiny seedling and it is now a lovely bonsai. This is it’s new seasons growth.

Another one of Steve's bonsai's just starting to bud up

Another one of Steve’s bonsai’s just starting to bud up

The main problem with us facilitating change is that in order to do it, we need to work together. As my dear constant readers are well aware, Stevie-boy and I are a study in opposite. I am not just taking doing things a bit differently, I am talking men are from Mars women are from Venus opposite. Some of the thought processes (if you could call random impulsive racing from one thing to another) that Stevie-boy calls “plans” make my head hurt. I just don’t get how he functions, let alone manages to get through to the end of the day and actually achieve anything. This brings me to my early morning musing on Friday. Last Friday at precisely 4.56am that actually took me away from my RSS Feed blogs to pen this before I forgot…

 

The new Ballerina Apple that our friend bought us for inside Sanctuary where the possums can no longer enter

The new Ballerina Apple that our friend bought us for inside Sanctuary where the possums can no longer enter

Here it is, still in it's bag along with raspberries and other things that our friend gave us ready to be planted out tomorrow, now that we have finally finished the fence.

Here it is, still in it’s bag along with raspberries and other things that our friend gave us ready to be planted out tomorrow, now that we have finally finished the fence.

Note how "fecund" Sanctuary is, the predominate species inside Sanctuary is Tropaeolum majus also known as nasturtiums

Note how “fecund” Sanctuary is, the predominate species inside Sanctuary is Tropaeolum majus also known as nasturtiums

Strawberry and yellow raspberry futures in pots waiting to be planted out

Strawberry and yellow raspberry futures in pots waiting to be planted out

 

Why do I need to have a start, middle and finish to everything that I do? I am not talking plans here, I am talking everything. I like to complete things. I don’t like strings being left untied, “i’s” and “t’s” not being dotted and crossed respectively and anything left undone. I like to finish a task and know that it is, to my best ability, finished. Yesterday was a point in case. I like to work methodically through a task until it is done. I like to make sure that I complete everything

 

Look how green and happy the little citrus that our friend gave us are, now that they are planted inside Sanctuary and out of the pots that they had been living in. No doubt the horse manure that went into the hole with them might have a little bit to do with their happy state

Look how green and happy the little citrus that our friend gave us are, now that they are planted inside Sanctuary and out of the pots that they had been living in. No doubt the horse manure that went into the hole with them might have a little bit to do with their happy state

These potatoes got an early start. I mustn't have managed to find them when I was digging out potatoes last year and these all grew.

These potatoes got an early start. I mustn’t have managed to find them when I was digging out potatoes last year and these all grew.

More spuds and happy, healthy looking yacon that are growing alongside them. This year they won't get out competed by pumpkins!

More spuds and happy, healthy looking yacon that are growing alongside them. This year they won’t get out competed by pumpkins!

You see I am well aware of which direction we are pointing. I know that if we keep having to come back and fix things up, or finish things off, that we are stalling our lives. I like to work through things because I like to start new things and know that the old things are finished and done. That way I can keep pointing forwards and don’t have to go backwards, sideways and upside down in order to live my life. I was thinking, as I shuffled Bezial back to bed for the umpteenth time, about how we live our lives planning, shuffling ourselves, our children, our time, our money from place to place to satisfy some part of something for most of our lives. We seem to make incredibly big jigsaw puzzles out of our lives in order to satisfy something that we just can’t quite put our finger on. I have a deep and unerring desire to simplify my life to the core. Call it the German in me, but I find the essence of processes incredibly delicious. Way down inside all of those processes is/was an idea, a simple idea that started that ball rolling. It may have been a desire to shore up the future, to prevent starvation, to make sure that your children lived past 4 but way back when all of these processes that we assume are vital to our survival, came into being, there was a terrifically valid reason for them. I doubt that most of us even know why we do a lot of what we do. If we stopped and asked ourselves why we ferry our kids to 14 different sporting, dancing, fencing, ape taming events we would see that it isn’t so much to do with our children as to do with keeping up with the Jones’s.

 

One of our two pear trees completely full of flowers. Looks like a good year for pomes

One of our two pear trees completely full of flowers. Looks like a good year for pomes

We left off last week with us having concreted in the poles ready for the fence to be started. Here you can see Steve installing the fence rails

We left off last week with us having concreted in the poles ready for the fence to be started. Here you can see Steve installing the fence rails

Another shot showing you more railing after Steve installed it

Another shot showing you more railing after Steve installed it

Over the other side of the enclosure that we were fencing, this is the view from the upper right hand fence boundary.

Over the other side of the enclosure that we were fencing, this is the view from the upper right hand fence boundary.

Why do we blindly follow processes without question? Why do we perform, by rote, much of what we do in our day as if our lives depend on it? If we step back and take a really good look at the processes the make up our lives, that we feel are taking over our lives, that rob us of time, money, “life” itself are they really important and valid or are they just habits that we and society in general have developed to keep the tracks of society well-greased and operating? I sat in the dark today. I won’t tell you where I was sitting when I contemplated this thought, I will leave it up to your imagination, but in keeping with paring down my life and my processes I thought way WAY back to the essence of “me”. Early morning narf is a whole lot more philosophical than mid-morning narf and don’t even talk to early evening narf. She doesn’t make much sense. Early morning narf, after that first cup of tea is a most interesting place to inhabit. I enjoy her ability to think and the still quiet time to do so (until I have to shepherd Bezial back to bed for the umpteenth time… sigh…). It all boils down to what you believe the universe “is” I guess. I read about people putting their thoughts, their wishes and their ideas out into the universe and allowing the universe to sort it all out for them. That’s a most comforting vision but being someone who is somewhat limited by science to a degree, I keep seeing rocks and meteors and stars where these people see possibilities. I can’t quite see how rocks and meteors and gasses can make my dreams come true. I need concrete things and so after a long LONG time pondering the long dark teatime of the soul I arrived at God. We all arrive back at God/a creator at some time in our lives even if we refuse to admit it. We all question ourselves and our beliefs and why the heck we are actually “here”. Why are “we” alive when so many other people aren’t? We could put it all down to coincidence, to a random pattern of thought or to simple science but I can’t help feeling like this is all too ordered, too organised, too united to be a result of chaos. Therefore I arrived back at the simple essence of God.

 

We had partially installed the fencing wire by this stage but not completely as is apparent by the chook being on the inside (and Earl not being attached to her rear end ;) )

We had partially installed the fencing wire by this stage but not completely as is apparent by the chook being on the inside (and Earl not being attached to her rear end 😉 )

The old palings are being re-used on the front part of the fence for economies sake and because they look good. Here you can see the new (neat) fence with the existing old fence in situ (keeping the dogs near the house while we built the bigger fence)

The old palings are being re-used on the front part of the fence for economies sake and because they look good. Here you can see the new (neat) fence with the existing old fence in situ (keeping the dogs near the house while we built the bigger fence)

I stood back a bit to take this shot so that you could see the new and old fence together

I stood back a bit to take this shot so that you could see the new and old fence together. Note we hadn’t finished the new fence in this photo

You can choose to believe in whatever you want to believe in. I choose a creator who gave us purpose, reason and who said “I will provide you with everything that you need…just ask me”. Now I may or may not have just lost half of my reading audience but I would like to think that most of you are as pragmatic as I am and are going to humour old narf7 by reading on. This ISN’T a bible bash folks. I haven’t read much of that most esteemed tome; I can’t make head or tail of most of it but the bits about “love each other” make a lot of sense to me and “share things with each other” as well. What makes sense to me is a clean pure reason for everything. A nice, tidy ends tucked in explanation for it all. We are born, we do stuff then we die. I am no expert in all of the peripherals. I have a sneaking suspicion that I don’t have to be. I think I am here to “live”. Maybe we are all one great big science experiment that has been going on for millennia. God’s ant farm. Who knows why we are here or to what purpose we are set but all I know is that we ARE here and that each day is another precious chance to wake up and smell the roses.

 

This is what happens when you procrastinate about moving your ladder away from a tree that you KNEW was about to lose a limb on a windy day...

This is what happens when you procrastinate about moving your ladder away from a tree that you KNEW was about to lose a limb on a windy day…

This lovely, easy to dig, yellow clay filled hole was bliss for Steve to dig today and is only possible because it is built into the house cut away section rather than in the topsoil. This hole was for the new gate and front fence paling section. The final part of the fence.

This lovely, easy to dig, yellow clay filled hole was bliss for Steve to dig today and is only possible because it is built into the house cut away section rather than in the topsoil. This hole was for the new gate and front fence paling section. The final part of the fence.

Steve communing with the recycled fence paling. Artists need to communicate with their muses. Steve is calling on his woody muses to allow him to "feel" the fence flowing from inside him...

Steve communing with the recycled fence paling. Artists need to communicate with their muses. Steve is calling on his woody muses to allow him to “feel” the fence flowing from inside him…

Sanding the cut edges of the new (recycled) paling fence. If you look closely, you can see a beady eye that was most interested in getting hold of that sander...

Sanding the cut edges of the new (recycled) paling fence. If you look closely, you can see a beady eye that was most interested in getting hold of that sander…

I decided that I am going to live life like Earl today. I don’t mean eat the couch, pee on everything and make Bezial’s life hell, I am going to try as hard as I can to stop thinking about other things, things that may or may not happen in the future, things that I could be doing and that I need to do etc. I am going to live for today and try to make the most of everything that happens today. I am going to allow my God to take care of the hard stuff. The things that I have been agonising over, the world that won’t be healed no matter how hard I wish it was, my day to day living needs when our finances are tenuous bordering on terrifying. How liberating! I don’t have to plan, to shuffle, to drive, to prepare…just look at what is in front of me at any given moment and do my best to do it well. I wonder if that isn’t the secret to happiness. Working through what has been set immediately in front of you to your best ability and tying up the ends, dotting the “i’s” and crossing all of the “t’s” and wrapping it all up in gold tissue paper with a nice big rainbow coloured bow and saying “DONE”. That way, when we get to whenever it is that our direction is constantly pointing in, and we have nothing left to give, we will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we did all that life handed us and we made the absolute most of every opportunity that rocked up instead of missing those precious things that get washed over by all of those societal processes that would mow down much of what makes life special, meaningful and precious.

 

Almost finished, putting the final touches on and making sure that we put a heavy gauge lock on the gate so that Earl can't escape out into the (unsuspecting) wide blue yonder...

Almost finished, putting the final touches on and making sure that we put a heavy gauge lock on the gate so that Earl can’t escape out into the (unsuspecting) wide blue yonder…

Steve even managed to drive the car into the gate and back it back out again without knocking the fence down (I really hope he doesn't expect me to repeat that success ;) )

Steve even managed to drive the car into the gate and back it back out again without knocking the fence down (I really hope he doesn’t expect me to repeat that success 😉 )

Steve whipper snipping the enclosure and you can see the fence that we built today (and some of the rear fence in the background)

Steve whipper snipping the enclosure and you can see the fence that we built today (and some of the rear fence in the background)

Reasonably tidy and no longer fully enclosed area around the house with no dogs to be seen. They are too busy frolicking around in the garden :)

Reasonably tidy and no longer fully enclosed area around the house with no dogs to be seen. They are too busy frolicking around in the garden 🙂

A much reduced potted plant section (soon to be moved to an empty area in Sanctuary where they can remain till we find space for them in the garden) and a very happy man who has officially finished fencing for 2014 :)

A much reduced potted plant section (soon to be moved to an empty area in Sanctuary where they can remain till we find space for them in the garden) and a very happy man who has officially finished fencing for 2014 🙂

5.21 And the sermon for today is over. If you would like to pass the collection hat please do so. Take what you put into the collection hat and go buy yourself a good cup of beverage of your choice, look up at the sky, look at the native vegetation wherever you are, listen to the birds singing and just thank whatever it is that you believe in for this precious and most amazing life 🙂

 

Life is a mystery and so is this. Steve recently took this shot for his photography site. They were having a "guess what this is?" competition and no-one guessed what Steve's photo was. Can you?

Life is a mystery and so is this. Steve recently took this shot for his photography site. They were having a “guess what this is?” competition and no-one guessed what Steve’s photo was. Can you?

 

 

Transition towns on Serendipity Farm

Hi All

I think that contentment with your lot is an entirely underrated concept. I decided to take it from concept mode and apply it to my real life. No longer is contentment shelved with the occasional mental dalliance with Brad Pitt or George Clooney, but it’s out here in the open being given a long overdue airing. I think that my much mulled over purchase of Brunhilda our enormous wood burning stove has had something to do with this. Since we moved to Serendipity Farm we have been choosing to live more frugally and more simply. It’s not of necessity and is more to do with making a conscious choice to live with less. We had an opportunity to totally change our lives and we decided to go with it. Sometimes you can’t afford to just carry on regardless and this was one of those times, however our road less travelled is a pilgrimage to understanding more about who we are and where we fit into this unusual landscape we call life. I didn’t realise that something as fundamental as food, warmth and the early morning predawn sight of a firebox full of flames would give me so much satisfaction. Aside from the flames I can now cook whatever I want pretty much whenever I want. I can cook a cake in one oven, a meal in another and be defrosting something in the coolest oven whilst proving my bread, setting my yoghurt, making breadcrumbs or dehydrating (fruit, veggies AND the occasional shoe) in the other. I can set my cup of tea on one of her covers and it will stay hot for as long as it sits there. I can boil a kettle of cold water in a few moments and it will sit on its own little rectangle of warmth ready to be reactivated, bubbling and singing its heart out in a moment’s notice…always a bonus when you are as addicted to tea and coffee as Steve and I are. It’s the elixir of thought in my case, and a channel of direction for Steve’s nervous energy. Just making very small changes to our lives has opened up a whole lot of possibilities. Swapping milk from a carton for home-made almond milk has given me back some choices and allowed me more control over what I am consuming. The purchase of 2 more almond trees will give me more control over my ability to continue using almond milk in my tea. The more you think about your ability to sustain your lifestyle using your own hands, a degree of thought and problem solving and what you have around you the more exciting the possibilities get.

Literally “The road to Serendipity…” 🙂

There is so much doom and gloom around at the moment in the environmental movement. Why would anyone want to bother trying to do anything positive about changing their environmental footprint when we are hit by barrage after barrage of negative information, hopeless outcomes and doomsday prophesies that appear to take more than a small degree of delight in mankind’s ultimate demise…I choose not to listen to them. I choose to actively try to change my own personal footprint and life so that what I am doing isn’t going to make it worse and might just make it better. I have always tried to be a glass half full person. That doesn’t mean that I stick my head in the sand or never stress about anything, this is my year of living honestly and sometimes I can be positively vibrating with stress. The last few years have taught me how much stress someone can actually live with and how detrimental to your health that stress can be. I don’t want to heap unnecessary stress on top of the stuff I can’t choose and worrying about the end of the world won’t do anyone any good. I guess the environmentalists are trying to push these changes through by using a blunt approach. That’s what the Australian government are trying to do with cigarette packaging…it doesn’t work because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink and if someone doesn’t want to change their thought processes and actions then nothing that you say or do is going to get them to. I decided long ago not to preach to people. It’s not worth it and they could care less. I just do what I can to live within the parameters of my own ethos and ideology and hopefully people can see that a simple life is more conducive to being a happy one.

The Aurora Australis heading back down the Tamar River to the sea. It makes a deep throbbing noise as it chugs its way down the river that you can hear for miles and Steve had advanced warning that a “photo opportunity” was approaching today

Part of the reason that I would love to study mushrooms and immerse myself in mycology is that fungi play such a fundamental part in our day to day lives and we need their activities for so many things. Here’s to you little branching fungus… live long and prosper!

I can’t stand people who jump on a cause because it might just earn them some popularity. I have made some sustained lifestyle choices and NONE of them were for the popularity points. I don’t labour the point with a vegan lifestyle because it’s what I choose to do and nothing to do with anyone else out there. I am not going to picket my friends’ houses because they choose to eat meat. Get a bit of a grip people…you end up looking like idealistic gits and most certainly don’t show anyone the benefits of living the way you choose if you are too busy trying to elevate yourself above everyone else with your trendy lifestyle choice. No tattoos for me…no shaven sides of my head…no husband with a soul patch…”How will anyone KNOW that I am vegan?”…you know what…I don’t actually CARE if anyone knows that I am vegan. I am content to just “be” vegan and know that it ticks one of my own personal happiness quotient boxes and be done with it. This segues me back to today’s meeting. I won’t be talking about it in this post because it’s in the future and I may still be ruminating over what I have heard today so you can expect a full critique along with photos on Wednesday. I can’t promise that I won’t have taken the odd surreptitious photo of the back of a felt hatters head (felt had firmly in place and most probably blocking someone behind thems view of the proceedings)…I can’t promise that I won’t have had the odd comment to make to a grandstanding felt hatter who turned up to “have their say” but who couldn’t be bothered to actually get up on stage and put the effort in to attempt to show people how to do something and I can’t promise that I won’t get a bit overexcited about something that I learned. You know me well now dear constant readers and excitement is my middle name! I am really looking forwards to attending the garden visit with my friend from the witness protection program. I will be taking copious photos of Steve Solomon’s personal veggie garden along with the odd photo of my friend’s shoe. He wrote the book “Growing Vegetables South of Australia” a most detailed scientific approach to growing veggies in my local environment. Steve lives about 15 minutes away from Serendipity Farm and as such, what he is talking about is quite pertinent to my own requirements. He is also an old hippy, a hermit and is into trying to live a simple sustainable life. He is also an expat American who has developed a range of seeds for our local climate that he sells through the Exeter nursery. It will be very interesting to attend this lecture and find out what Steve does with his own garden. You can learn more about someone from their personal actions than you can from a million of their words…

http://www.soilandhealth.org/05steve’sfolder/05aboutmeindex.html

There is something very invigorating about being in a room full of people who want to facilitate change in their local environment.

Here’s part of the knowledge base of Serendipity Farm. Note the large monitor that allows me the vanity of thinking that I don’t need glasses AND the ability to switch between computer, television AND Wii. My own personal little entertainment unit that allows Steve the run of the loungeroom at night and the freedom to watch trashy tv and the Olympics without my derogatory comments.

The transition town lecture has me inspired. We are such a fragmented society now. Technology has given us the ability to be distanced from the earth and to purchase our wants and needs from middle men and from overseas. I am not saying that it’s not fantastic to have the range of goods and services that we have but I am saying that a fair few of them we don’t actually need and we are soon going to have to renegotiate what we can and can’t live without. I would rather have a washing machine than an I-pod. I would rather install a wind turbine than continue to watch as our electricity prices skyrocket out of all proportion to what is being delivered. We DO have choices and we can exercise our ability to head on over to where the choices fit our ethos and Transition towns fit right smack bang in the middle of my own personal utopian ideal. Our civilisation was able to exist long before anyone thought of using oil to grease the chains of capitalism and so long as we haven’t stuffed up our environment too much, we will be able to exist long into the future. I CHOOSE to see the bright side because I don’t want to live in perpetual fear and depression. Our fragmented society has done nothing for families, for the once esteemed position of the elderly and it’s a rare person who is actually content with their lot. Communities are a thing of the past apart from in Third World countries where they will feel the loss of oil somewhat less than we will. I am not talking about survivalists when I talk about Transition towns. There are always going to be people who want to succeed from the human race (usually with guns and traps and water purifiers). To be honest, I wouldn’t want to live in a post-apocalyptic world where your choice was selfishness or to eliminate the competition. That brings me back to transitions. Change is always a very difficult thing for me. I like to know what is going on and where I fit into it and as such, I tend to make sure that I am well aware of my local environment. The truth about peak oil is that change is something inevitable and the sooner we see where we fit into this change the better. I can see a lot of benefits. I see the loss of supermarket giants hold in our communities due to the skyrocketing price of fuel. That means that we will get our bakers, our butchers, and our local store on the corner back. We will lose our ability to instantly access goods from overseas, BUT we will be able to take full advantage of what is local and seasonal and we may all end up healthier for this. No more Monsanto! We will have to learn how to manage our pests naturally…no more monocrops. Far be it from fearing this, we should be learning how to grow food within our communities to sustain us locally. In other words…it would be back to the hamlets…small towns and communities that naturally formed before the rise of oil consuming machinery. It wasn’t that long ago folks…only last century people didn’t have cars and that’s only a collective blink in the history of the world. The stranglehold of capitalism based on oil has been rapidly depleting our environment of its beauty and resources to our detriment. We CAN live on after peak oil…we just need to learn how to do it and not to fear the changes. I guess transitioning can be summed up in a sentence…” Remove “ME” from its elevated position of envy and put “US” up there in sustainable lights”.

The “blurb” about the event that I attended today

The lady standing coordinates the Tamar sustainable living group. She is living the life that I want to emulate here on Serendipity Farm and has an incredible amount of knowledge about living sustainably and will be coordinating the next sustainable food choices event that I will attend in a fortnights time. Can you see a couple of felt hatters? 😉

We were asked to get into groups and brainstorm some ideas about what we wanted to achieve within our local communities. This was my little group and we had some great ideas

Ok, enough transitioning for me! I need to head off to the shower, pack some fruit for my lunch (it might be transition towns but I bet they still forget to cater for the vegetarians (let alone the vegans 😉 ) and take my trusty camera to see if I can’t take a few shots for you today of what this is all about. I like being a lens for learning. I guess I should probably have stayed at my studies when I was at teachers college but looking at some of the harried teachers and lecturers around me makes me believe that the world did me a favour when it removed me forcibly from a career in “sharing”. I guess you can see that I am very excited about this month and the possibilities of sustainable living and transition towns. I hope that you will stick around to read about my interpretation of what it’s all about because that’s what I am all about at this phase of my life…love me…love my transition town ;). Today it’s Kelsey, my son Stewart’s partner’s birthday. “Happy Birthday Kelsey” and welcome to our strange family! It’s my own birthday tomorrow. I will be spending the day being spoiled and cossetted by the man that I love. He is going to throw himself out on a limb and bake me a vegan cake and we are having veggie burgers and home-made chips for tea (my own personal request). I am sure that the dogs will be entirely unimpressed with our meal but take heart Steve…at least they won’t be begging from your plate tonight! Have a great weekend dear constant readers and remember that we all have choices, it’s just up to us how we decide to exercise those choices :o).

Dog 1 and how enthusiastic he is going to be tomorrow night with the food choices available to the average scrounging dog…

Dog 2 after being told by dog 1 what is going to be on offer at the table for my vegan birthday feast. Bad luck doggies…its my night! 😉