Earl turns 4, Three wise herons and learning to appreciate snotty oysters

Hi All,

Late last week I could have cheerfully had my little brother neutered and sent off to obedience class. Alas, this is WAY beyond the scope of my rights as a big sister (watch out Earl!) Instead I ended up having an (shall we say, for the want of a better word…) “interesting” conversation on Facebook with him which culminated in him badgering me to unfriend him. I just noticed that spellchecker has no problem with the word “unfriend”. I, on the other hand, do. You can’t just “unfriend” someone who has, for the last 46 years of your life been part and parcel of the rough and tumble of your existence. That old saying “you can choose your friends but you (are stuck with) can’t choose your family has never been more poignant. If you are reading this Jamie, “keep reading!”…so where was I, AH that’s right, halfway between “neutering” and “sending off to obedience school”…so this delightful situation that we found ourselves in wasn’t just a spat between brother and sister, this time it was between all three siblings and it had been brewing on the back burner for quite some time.

Story of my life, ever cautious ;)

Story of my life, ever cautious 😉

 

Steve's little mate "Wall-e-bee" helping us deal with the sow thistle problem on Serendipity Farm "EAT FASTER!" ;)

Steve’s little mate “Wall-e-bee” helping us deal with the sow thistle problem on Serendipity Farm “EAT FASTER!” 😉

Our friend Jenny grew globe artichokes just because she could. She doesn't actually like them so guess who got the chokes!

Our friend Jenny grew globe artichokes just because she could. She doesn’t actually like them so guess who got the chokes!

Christmas marinated artichoke heart futures :)

Christmas marinated artichoke heart futures 🙂

Things like that you don’t take to Facebook so why did we? Because we are first and foremost “Stahl’s” and we tend to think with our outrageous indignation and it is only when we retreat to lick our wounds that a little light bulb comes on in our heads that says “er…maybe I could have moderated that a bit better.” I only mention this because some of my dear constant readers (you know who you are) are also Facebook friends so you may have been privy to said “spat”. My sister, who has a more genteel constitution than myself unfriended him but I have the hide of a hippo (and the bum but we won’t expand on that here and now) and as we all know, the predominately vegan hippo kills more people in Africa than the macho carnivorous lion. Wise words to ponder over folks… wise words INDEED.

Jenny and I and her grandson Dylan went to Red Dragon nursery last Thursday. I would love to share some photos that I took of this beautiful place. The plants are amazing, unusual and the owner is my favourite horticultural nutcase. You rock Andrew ;)

Jenny and I and her grandson Dylan went to Red Dragon nursery last Thursday. I would love to share some photos that I took of this beautiful place. The plants are amazing, unusual and the owner is my favourite horticultural nutcase. You rock Andrew 😉

This magnificent cloud pruned conifer was cloud pruned by Steve and I back in 1010 when we did some work experience for Andrew at Red Dragon  Nursery.

This magnificent cloud pruned conifer was cloud pruned by Steve and I back in 1010 when we did some work experience for Andrew at Red Dragon Nursery.

Steve and I love this place

Steve and I love this place

Jenny's (first) cart full of plants, mine are on the wall behind the cart

Jenny’s (first) cart full of plants, mine are on the wall behind the cart

This place gives "garden rooms" a whole new meaning as each turn, path, side track delivers you to another little section of gorgeousness to peruse, ponder and purchase if you see fit :)

This place gives “garden rooms” a whole new meaning as each turn, path, side track delivers you to another little section of gorgeousness to peruse, ponder and purchase if you see fit 🙂

I adore Zenobia's but my specimen died. This one is well and truly alive and flowering to boot

I adore Zenobia’s but my specimen died. This one is well and truly alive and flowering to boot

Andrew is most proud of his selection of very large leafed rhododendrons. He even gave me the name of this one to share with you all. This is very hard to get and is Rhododendron sinogrande with leaves that reach 780cm. What a magnificent beast!

Andrew is most proud of his selection of very large leafed rhododendrons. He even gave me the name of this one to share with you all. This is very hard to get and is Rhododendron sinogrande with leaves that reach 78cm. What a magnificent beast!

More of those beautiful rocks (with a protective hand...he knows my magpie tendencies ;) )

More of those beautiful rocks (with a protective hand…he knows my magpie tendencies 😉 )

The exit to the nursery

The exit to the nursery

Part of the outside grounds where examples of the trees and shrubs for sale have been planted so that people can see what they will look like in a garden situation

Part of the outside grounds where examples of the trees and shrubs for sale have been planted so that people can see what they will look like in a garden situation

More of the outside garden. Aren't these conifers gorgeous?

More of the outside garden. Aren’t these conifers gorgeous?

I adore this golden bamboo. Jenny bought herself a large pot of black bamboo. We have seen these bamboos in other nursery's for $120 but at Andrew's this very healthy specimen was a mere $32 (and that was expensive!) Jenny has promised me some when it starts to shoot :)

I adore this golden bamboo. Jenny bought herself a large pot of black bamboo. We have seen these bamboos in other nursery’s for $120 but at Andrew’s this very healthy specimen was a mere $32 (and that was expensive!) Jenny has promised me some when it starts to shoot 🙂

After all of the bru-ha-ha had settled down a most magical thing happened. My testosterone fuelled, angst ridden, outrageously indignant brother who thinks with his sharp pointed finger and who holds onto his anger with a furious dignity that could be admired if it wasn’t so very infuriating, apologised to me. He may have deleted most of the more incriminating parts of said post but he apologised. I am thinking that much like Mr Rudyard Kipling’s most glorious ode of father to son masculinity “If” , my little brother has become a “man”. There comes a time in your life where being right is less important than being part of a small but most stalwart collective of bunched up and twitching outrageous nervous energy or as mainstream humanity would call it, part of a “family”. You are part of my family Jamie. You always will be. Whether you choose to flail about and sustain collateral damage (hippos think with their mouths…) is up to you, but I love you and you will always be in my heart.

The little building here is the nursery office. Andrew, Steve and I share a passion for cold climate shrubs and trees that bonded us all from the start

The little building here is the nursery office. Andrew, Steve and I share a passion for cold climate shrubs and trees that bonded us all from the start

Andrew also shares a passion for the beautiful rocks that can be found on beaches all around the shorelines of Tasmania.

Andrew also shares a passion for the beautiful rocks that can be found on beaches all around the shorelines of Tasmania.

2 lovely maples side by side

2 lovely maples side by side

Loveliness

Loveliness

More loveliness

More loveliness

Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to delight your eye. My photos don't do this wonderful place justice.

Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to delight your eye. My photos don’t do this wonderful place justice.

:)

🙂

The entrance/exit

The entrance/exit

Even the trolley bay is pretty

Even the trolley bay is pretty

Red Dragon Nursery specialises in rare and hard to get rhododendrons and azaleas. This is a rhododendron but I certainly wouldn't have picked it as such

Red Dragon Nursery specialises in rare and hard to get rhododendrons and azaleas. This is a rhododendron but I certainly wouldn’t have picked it as such

This azalea appears to have a split personality ;)

This azalea appears to have a split personality 😉

Now that the mushy stuff is out of the way lets talk about what the heck narf7 is on about with that title! Well today is Earl’s birthday. It was 4 years ago today, somewhere in rural South Australia that little Earl first tumbled out into the world, no doubt making his presence felt as soon as he could. From that day on, he has spent his life infuriating, exasperating, eating, dissecting, scraping, chewing, frolicking, barking, did I mention eating? And loving us all. Earl is one of a kind. He is a doggie shaped enigma and we love Earl to bits. It took me a fair while to warm to Earl because he was so very feral but now we are mono-a-mono and there is no separating us. I love him so much I carried home 3 segments of pool noodle that someone had thrown out in a roadside collect today, 2 km to the bemused stares of early morning commuters just so that he would have the joy of tearing them into tiny “squeaky” shreds on his birthday. Today will bring white chocolate (yes, dogs can have it), pizza, eggs, balloons, pool noodles and lots and lots of love, just how it should be when a dog turns 4 🙂

Earl not long after we got him

Earl not long after we got him back in April 2011 wasn’t he a cutey? 🙂

Earl in his usual habitat, a trail of chewed mass destruction in his wake ;)

Earl in his usual habitat, a trail of chewed mass destruction in his wake 😉

Here is that small collective of pool noodle/s that I carried home this morning. Most of them have been shredded but one remains in the lounge room for grazing on later in the day ;)

Here is that small collective of pool noodle/s that I carried home this morning. Most of them have been shredded but one remains in the lounge room for grazing on later in the day 😉

The heron bit…well yesterday on our early morning walk, Earl and I noticed a flock of 14 herons winging their way in from the river to a large dead gum tree. They all landed in the tree and it took them all of 4 seconds to note us walking under the tree. 9 of the herons flew away protesting loudly but 3 remained, stoic in the knowledge that there was no WAY this side of the Pecos that a somewhat overweight 50+ year old woman and a dog who was tethered to said woman (thus completely immobilised by his fat anchor…) were going to be able to climb up 50 feet into the sky to catch them without them at least getting a bit of a whiff of the clear and present danger LONG before it arrived. 3 of those herons were clever. Their babies will be taught by clever parents. And thus the clever bring more cleverness into the world…

Steve took this photo of a dandelion covered in seeds not so long back. Pretty isn't it?

Steve took this photo of a dandelion covered in seeds not so long back. Pretty isn’t it?

It might not be as delicate and sensitive as a zenobia but this deutzia is just as pretty and much hardier. You have to be clever with what you plant, you can usually find something almost the same that will be most happy to live in your garden :)

It might not be as delicate and sensitive as a zenobia but this deutzia is just as pretty and much hardier. You have to be clever with what you plant. You can usually find something almost the same that will be most happy to live in your garden 🙂

Sunshine in Sanctuary and another opportunity to get stuck in to food production

Sunshine in Sanctuary and another opportunity to get stuck in to food production

The last part of the title (and the least pleasant to think about) is the snotty oysters. I can hear you all thinking “I thought narf was a vegan? What the heck is she doing eating and learning to appreciate snotty oysters?!” Well I was being metaphorical rather than actual in this part of the title. Walking with Earl at 5am gives me time to contemplate the world without having to worry too much about ducking over to the very edge of the verge (and coincidentally the very edge of the river bank) in order to avoid being run over by cars. You tend to think more about your own mortality at 7am than you do at 5am. I had just stood and witnessed the sun coming up over a glorious still river and watched the shadows give way to that amazing light that only comes at sun up and Earl and I stood silent and in awe (well I was, Earl was sniffing a dandelion) of this amazing world, how beautiful and privileged we were (again, Earl was otherwise occupied so I really shouldn’t be speaking for him) to bear witness to the start of another amazing day on this slow revolving blue planet that occupies this point in space and time.

These are the plants that I bought at Red Dragon. We have stopped buying ornamentals and everything here has at least 2 purposes. The manna ash has sweet sap that can be harvested in Mediterranean climates like maple syrup, the katsura has toffee apple scented leaves and amazing autumn foliage, the small pot is a Tasmanian pepperberry and the pot on the far right is a New Zealand wineberry BUT I did a bit of research when I got home and they are dioeceous which means that they need both a male AND a female to produce fruit. Looks like Stevie-boy and I will be heading back out to Red Dragon in the near future. Oh what a difficult thing to do! ;)

These are the plants that I bought at Red Dragon. We have stopped buying ornamentals and everything here has at least 2 purposes. The manna ash has sweet sap that can be harvested in Mediterranean climates like maple syrup, the katsura has toffee apple scented leaves and amazing autumn foliage, the small pot is a Tasmanian pepperberry and the pot on the far right is a New Zealand wineberry BUT I did a bit of research when I got home and they are dioeceous which means that they need both a male AND a female to produce fruit. Looks like Stevie-boy and I will be heading back out to Red Dragon in the near future. Oh what a difficult thing to do! 😉

Friends who live down the road had a garage sale on Saturday.

Friends who live down the road had a garage sale on Saturday.

I bought this loveliness... well I didn't buy those wicker balls at the front, I got them for free from another roadside stand that was giving things away. They are going to be used on our homemade Christmas tree this year along with all of our other homemade decorations :)

I bought this loveliness… well I didn’t buy those wicker balls at the front, I got them for free from another roadside stand that was giving things away. They are going to be used on our homemade Christmas tree this year along with all of our other homemade decorations 🙂

I also got some small ounce scales (no, I am NOT going into "business" I just liked them ;) ) and this lovely copper pot and small sugar bowl...

I also got some small ounce scales (no, I am NOT going into “business” I just liked them 😉 ) and this lovely copper pot and small sugar bowl…

...with feet! Who can resist something inanimate with feet :)

…with feet! Who can resist something inanimate with feet 🙂

Stevie-boy bought me a passionfruit and a kiwiberry on Monday when he was doing our fortnightly grocery shop.

Stevie-boy bought me a passionfruit and a kiwiberry on Monday when he was doing our fortnightly grocery shop.

A different variety of Jerusalem artichoke to my regular variety that I have planted to add to the mix, a punnet each of rainbow chard, spinach and jalapenos and my compost bucket ready to be emptied in Sanctuary

A different variety of Jerusalem artichoke to my regular variety that I have planted to add to the mix, a punnet each of rainbow chard, spinach and jalapenos and my compost bucket ready to be emptied in Sanctuary

That Jerusalem artichoke and some that needed to be removed from the garden bed. Once you have Jerusalem artichokes you won't ever be without them but as I love them I really don't mind, it's all bonus food and sunflowers for me! :)

That Jerusalem artichoke and some that needed to be removed from the garden bed. Once you have Jerusalem artichokes you won’t ever be without them but as I love them I really don’t mind, it’s all bonus food and sunflowers for me! 🙂

A whole lot less pumpkins but a whole lot more order and choice. I am planting things out randomly in the hope that nature will be happy with my chaos. (That's my story and I am sticking to it ;) )

A whole lot less pumpkins but a whole lot more order and choice. I am planting things out randomly in the hope that nature will be happy with my chaos. (That’s my story and I am sticking to it 😉 )

They might not be the most professional looking tomato cages but they serve the purpose and were made with love by Stevie-boy for my 2 San Marzano paste tomatoes :)

They might not be the most professional looking tomato cages but they serve the purpose and were made with love by Stevie-boy for my 2 San Marzano paste tomatoes 🙂

Earl was peeing on a tree by this stage but I was still full of the heady bliss of it all and my thoughts turned to life, the universe and everything. I started to think about how each new day was like an oyster being opened. Inside you could find a pearl or you could find a snotty oyster. Pearly days are absolutely wonderful, snotty oyster days are to be endured, unless you find a way to appreciate snotty oysters and then you are ahead. I guess what I was trying to say (other than “I don’t like raw oysters”) is that if we learn to appreciate our days, come what may, we end up with a better quality of life, no matter what our circumstances. Life is what we make of it, not what it hands us. Some lives are harder to live than others and some circumstances are more difficult to endure but there is always a way, always a silver lining and always a way to put the check book back in balance (metaphorically speaking) we just have to find it. I would like it known that I will NEVER appreciate snotty oysters (or cooked okra) I will just pass them on to someone who does and thus ends the lesson for today. Time to head off into our respective lives, to live, to love, to moderate our Facebook rants and to make of our lives what we will. Here’s to Earl and his unmitigated merriment no matter what and a birthday full of things that make him happy 🙂

This is what makes Earl happy, loud music and love and adoration from his humans :)

This is what makes Earl happy, loud music and love and adoration from his humans 🙂

Free music for the soul

Hi All,

I just had a really lovely Mother’s day with all of my kids. We had a most excellent lunch of all kinds of breads, cheeses, salads, meats (lots of non-vegan’s in my crowd 😉 ) and antipasto type veggies plus a couple of avocados, my personal favourites. We also had gourmet ciders and they even remembered to bring Steve one of his favourite brews, Little Creatures beer. Aside from all of the fun (we are a loud bunch) Stewart loaded up a game that he had gifted me a few weeks ago on a free gaming platform called “Steam” where you can play games for free or choose to pay a token amount for all kinds of games. Stewart bought me a bundle of games for $2 and I ended up with about 10 games but hadn’t looked at them yet so he loaded one up called Reus. A most interesting game indeed where you get to be “The boss” and direct the construction of a planet and the direction of its civilisation. I am still working on my PR. You can squash your civilisations if they get too big headed and I am not sure that I am ready for that kind of megalomania!

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Sir Earl has appointed himself grand keeper of the cheese…I don’t know if you can spot the small yellow smudge of cheese on the windowsill behind Earl but that’s put there for the Grey cuckoo thrush that comes throughout the day and takes bits of cheese back to it’s mate…Earl HATES the grey (freeloading) cuckoo thrush and as it is ignoring his barking and chasing it down the deck he has decided to defend his territory studiously

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“How long do I have to sit here?!”

Stewart also told me about a free radio station called “Spotify”.  I get the feeling that it’s the same radio station that my friend Kym told me about recently but as Stewart was here he loaded it up and it’s a really excellent online radio station that customises to your tastes. I don’t know if you are like me but I can’t STAND jamster music. “Jamster music” is the rubbish phone tunes that came out and disappeared almost as fast as they rose to fame but have left us with a legacy of people who need a machine to sing and who get contracts more for their looks than anything that comes out of their mouths. I can completely bypass the Jamster music with this radio station and that makes me a VERY happy little black duck. You can choose genres of music and then just click play and away you go good music to dance around the kitchen singing into your tea-towel with. Another good feature is that if you like a song that they play you can click “like” and it adds it to your playlist so after a while you can bypass the odd ad that plays completely by just playing your saved list

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Part “A” of the delivery of horse manure (which is now spread most of the way over everything under the deck that you can see here thanks to the chooks…sigh…)

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Part “B” of the horse manure delivery and an angsty Stevie-boy waiting for the RAC man to turn up as our little 4×4 decided to take Mother’s Day off…

I just made a vegan chocolate cake. I got the recipe from here…

http://www.deliciouseveryday.com/vegan-chocolate-cake/

It’s called a “Deep, dark, rich and sexy Vegan chocolate cake” and it isn’t kidding! A very easy cake to make but just don’t look at the ingredients as it couldn’t be called low fat in anyone’s book but if you want a real luxury gorgeous silky velvet chocolate cake that you would be proud to put in front of anyone give this baby a go. I am going to forgo the decadent coconut cream ganache that the cake is supposed to be iced with as I don’t want to give the recipient a heart attack so will go with something a lot simpler in a vain effort to rein in the calories

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“”Ok…so it’s obviously chocolate but sexy? Nope…not buying it narf7…I am going to need MORE proof…

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“Oh NOW we see it! S.E.X.Y. indeed!” add a smothering of vegan coconut cream and chocolate ganache and this baby is pure supermodel…only thing is that Stevie-boy isn’t a great fan of “so moist it hurts” so anyone thinking of luring him away to paint their garage or tile their gazebo had best use something other than this delectable baby…anyone want half a cake?

Steve and I are working on creating a 16 page booklet in our course at the moment. We are learning how to put content and images within the parameters of a booklet and apparently InDesign does most of the work for us…we shall see about that! If something can go wrong with the program it will do it for us. We don’t mind, it gives us more of a chance to learn how to use it by working our way backwards out of our problem. You learn more through stuff ups than you ever do by acing things every time.

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Isn’t this gorgeous? My amazing and most wonderfully generous mate Kymmy made it for me 🙂 I don’t know how, but it makes tea brewed in this little terracotta teapot taste SO much better (even if it IS only tea-bags 😉 )

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Mr Terry Pratchett wrote a book called “A hat full of sky” and this is a hatbox full of pretty. Although I have a ridiculously small amount of natural talent when it comes to crafting (please don’t protest, I know my strengths 😉 ) I found a sack of these gorgeous ribbony thingo’s at the tip shop and after untangling them and cleaning them up I was left with half a large hatbox of satiny pretties…anyone have any ideas for what to do with them for the artistically/craftically challenged? Pauline has already given me some suggestions which I duly noted but as most of them involved having a degree of talent that is almost incomprehensible to me I set them aside tenderly for the day when I learn “skills”.

I (foolishly) decided to take my camera out with me on my early morning walk with Earl. It was just over 0C when we set off at a brisk trot as Earl doesn’t like his tender little tootsies to stand still long on the cold soil (that’s his excuse and he is sticking to it!). Earl was very happy to oblige me as I stopped every few metres to take a photo but after a while he got bored and decided to put his muscle into it to get me moving again. I don’t know if you have ever tried to take a photo with a 34kg American Staffordshire terrier doing his best imitation of a Mack truck in opposition to your intents. I did manage to take some good photos but I also took a lot of burred images and a disproportionate amount of images of my foot (cheers Earl!). I even walked all the way to Deviot beach where Earl proceeded to attempt to wee on every single shrub in the area having not been there in well over a month. Sometimes I wonder about my sanity when I choose the places that I am going to walk Earl…but I am never going to need to go to the gym, I guess there is always a positive if you look hard enough for it…

Jim in his beanie

My foolish little brother actually put this on Facebook and I told him (warned him) that I was going to have to share it here. I don’t think he thought I would…”World, meet my brother Jamie…Jamie…World…” 😉

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Oh DEAR…someone spilled the beans! 😉

Thanks to a combination of a desire to replenish my poor addled sleep deprived brain by dousing it in 10 hours straight of sleep on Saturday night and my need to get up at 2.30am this morning after going to bed at 10.30 last night (do the maths…I am no longer capable…) I am in a sort of suspended animation at the moment. I just turned up “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my brain is convinced I am in a night club somewhere back in the 90’s. If your days are a little mundane it might be a bit of fun to deprive yourself of sleep for a few days, the world is a very different place when your brain is being funnelled through haze and Van Halen. I can think of worse feelings to be honest 🙂 In saying that, I might head off to bed nice and early tonight…

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General tomfoolery when asked to pose for a Mother’s Day photo (note Earl photobombing…)

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“OK YOU LOT, STOP MUCKING AROUND!”…sigh…(poor Stevie-boy is NEVER going to hit the bigtime as a photographer with subjects like us 😉 )

Its Wednesday again (why oh WHY did I choose hump day as my blogging day?!) and here I am listening to Thin Lizzy (Oh MAN I am the coolest of the cool!) and procrastinating my derrière off again about studying. If you asked me any other time to hunt down some images to make a booklet with I would be on it. I would be hunting late into the night but tack the harmless little words (“HA”) “for your studies…” onto the end of that sentence and suddenly I need to find something else to do pronto. I think it’s just me being bolshie and not wanting to do what I am told. A problem of mine ever since I was a child. Looks like I haven’t grown out of it yet (most probably won’t). I took some photos on my (drag) walk with Earl but as I hadn’t bothered to bone up on what exactly constitutes a design “principle” or “element” (I foolishly thought that I would remember that from last year’s course…) prior to heading out the door, I mean seriously folks what was I thinking? It wasn’t yet 7am and I was being propelled backwards down a slippery driveway to my obvious doom, why on EARTH wasn’t I thinking!!! I ended up taking some images (too many) of “lines” as that was pretty much the only design principle/element (see I don’t even know where “lines” FIT in design!) that I remember… The rest of my photos are sort of hopeful. They have “things” in them (note to self – STOP USING INVERTED COMMAS AND BRACKETS!) but not anything concrete enough to be able to use for the required purposes.

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A great shot of Madeline…me…not so much…but at least I don’t have my tongue sticking out Qi! 😉

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I think those hand signals are “DUDE!” in Korean

My creativity in finding things to do rather than study has me gobsmacked. I think I would even attempt complex calculus rather than do what I was told…what IS it with procrastination anyway?! Earl and Bezial are trying their hardest to help me by requesting their dinner 3 hours early. I am almost desperate enough to give it to them! I guess I could pick up my camera, have a vague read over what constitutes a design principle or element (or whatever they are) and actually take a few photos that might satisfy what I need to do but where is the Catholic guilt in that? I am not even Catholic but for the purposes of this post I am a convert. My angst is being somewhat tempered by listening to 70’s music on Spotify. As a child of the 70’s these songs are entertaining me far more than they probably should if I want to maintain my hip cool narf7 image but they are doing double duty as stress relief as I contemplate my rapidly approaching deadline to get this work handed in (and another unit in my inbox this morning…EEK!) so if singing “My Sharona” is going to help me cut the mustard (err…mixed metaphor folks!) then so-be-it!

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Me doing my finest Nana Mouskouri impersonation and good try getting out of the shot Bethany, Stevie-boy is onto you!

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And so is Nana Mouskouri!

The garden has gone to heck by the way. That’s why you haven’t seen any images of it lately, that plus it is COLD OUT THERE and I am doing my level best to not venture out into the real world aside from my early morning (drag) walk with Earl. Once is enough to remind me that I prefer to be on the inside looking out when it’s cold outside. Brunhilda is doing a sterling job of keeping it toasty warm inside.  You might not have realised it (but you might just have suspected it…) but I just went AWOL to eat my lunch and go to Facebook for a while. I found this…

 

https://www.facebook.com/robertdowneyjr

 

Thank me later. If you don’t like Mr Downey Jr…what the heck is wrong with you?!!! I suppose you don’t think that Mr J Depp is a hunk either eh? Sigh…some people…NO taste…

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Stewart appears to have been rendered armless by all of the cider that we drank

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Steve demanding payment for being forced to take all of those images!

Ok, I just checked and I have 1675 words. Significantly less than my usual misc. and boobity boo-zillion but I HAVE to do some studies folks. Even sitting here procrastinating for 5000 words isn’t going to get this studies done so I might have to make this post short (boring) but sweet and get it scheduled to post later on when my brain has been turned to mush by too many thoughts about “Design” and “Elements” and “Principles” and pretty much anything to do with them. I ran out of socks to roll, I resisted feeding the dogs (to their disgust) and my lunch was delicious (steamed veggies and dhal) so off to face up to my creative future…wish me luck (I am going to need it, it’s a grey, cold old day out there so good luck to me shooting anything other than “dinge” 😉

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I thought I would share a photo taken at the bottom of our driveway taken on that eventful photo shoot accompanied by Earl. At least some of the shots are nice, although not entirely sure how I could use this as anything to do with design 😉 Have a great week folks. You should start praying around about now that I actually “do” something next week so that the next blog post contains something other than procrastination and Mother’s Day 😉

Grey Shrike Thrush Life Coach

Hi All,

 

Who needs to pay someone to “coach” you to a better life? The better life is right here inside us and Mr Grey Shrike Thrush just shows us how living simply and getting “enough” is really the best life indeed :). We get Grey Shrike Thrushes visit us on a daily basis. I reckon I am going to view them as my life coaches from now on 🙂 Please note that the image below was taken from my Facebook feed and originated from the original artwork of Mr Michael Leunig, the human version of the Grey Shrike Thrush 🙂

 

The Grey Shrike Thrush Life Coaching Session by Leunig

Finding happiness in simple things

Hi Folks

I wanted to start this week’s post off with a simple but most beneficial truth that I learned this week and if I learn nothing else this month…perhaps even year…this is a goodn’. Do you ever keep getting the same message over and over and over again? I have been revisiting the “be grateful and thankful and happy with what you have and simple things” message a lot lately. Just about every blog post, FB page update (that I sporadically look at) and website that I access has some hidden message just for narf7 that involves me thinking about how very lucky I am to be learning how to be so happy with so little. When you can be content with little you are truly blessed.

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“What do we have here?” (after changing my clothes to repeat the original “what do we have here” but after a quick change in clothing so as not to look like Granny weather wax out of the Discworld witches series 😉 )

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Potato onions! Sent by Jess from rabbidlittlehippy. Out of season, and the people at Yelwek farm in Tassie couldn’t have bent over further to make this happen if they were contortionists. I couldn’t believe the amazing customer service folks. If you are in the market for potato onions (white or brown) or oca, the delicious little multi coloured yam fest of great happiness or if you want to wait a little bit because they are just about to add onion shallots to their fantastic repertoire (and they sent me 2 for free to trial!), check out their website and do yourselves a favour and buy some and support a small grassroots company that could do with your business. These guys make buying something fun 🙂 Oh, by the way…that isn’t really wurzel gummidges nose…it’s ALL mine! 😉 In my defence, I was running on 4 hours sleep and my eyes felt like boiled onions by this stage of the day 😉

http://yelwekfarmoca.com/

I got the most overwhelming sense of bliss just walking into my veggie garden to water it yesterday. A true and most complete sense of being right with the world. As I watered (and flattened my veggies with their regular quotient of H2O) my mind wandered around all over the place as it tends to do. Just a quick aside…scientists have proven that older people don’t forget things because they are suffering from dementia as a rule, they forget things because they have SO MUCH INFORMATION CRAMMED IN THEIR HEADS that some leaks out. I, for one, will be supporting that scientific study with my hand on my heart and a fierce sense of loyalty most probably far outweighed by the studies weight in the scientific community 😉

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I was supposed to get 10 of each…as you can see (if you are furiously counting…) I got 14 brown potato onions and 12 white and see that lovely little card filled with helpful information? How amazing are these guys eh? 🙂

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One of my “pretties”. I don’t have a lot of them and indeed, I almost didn’t have this one. This is a tuberous begonia. I thought that this particular specimen had carked it so I tossed it outside the glasshouse where the poor thing overwintered completely devoid of potting mix and then started to grow little green leaves as soon as spring hit. I couldn’t believe it when I noticed it growing tenaciously next to the glasshouse. Here it is reminding me that I don’t know everything and that sometimes, what you throw out is beautiful…”be careful what you throw away”. Life lesson learned 🙂

I usually get up at 3am, have my first life giving and most wonderful mug (bucket) of tea soon after. It accompanies me as I browse and read blog posts delivered to me overnight into my RSS Feed Reader without which I would have to sift a whole lot more dross before I found the pure gold. I slowly sip my life giving elixir and all is right with the world. I don’t allow myself another cuppa till I get back from walking Earl. I do this because otherwise I have to find tracts of bushland in order to evacuate said extra mug (bucket) and you just never know who is watching 😉 that was up until today. Today I have coined the phrase that is going to accompany through 2014 and most probably the rest of my life. “Do simple things that make you happy”. Simple things like have that extra cuppa, go and read that book, stop following the dogs and sweeping behind them and go out to the garden instead and just sit and plan…little things that make my heart sing, my soul smile and that I keep putting off because I have so much to do…”so much to do” can wait. Life is here now and I want to enjoy it to the max 🙂

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One of the “mints” that I pulled from out of the pathway at the community orchard in Deviot turned out to be a bee balm 🙂

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My latest 2 fig “cuttings”. The one of the right appears to be happy but the one of the left might have been just a teensy bit too big to survive on the small amount of roots that this ground layer had managed to set down. Time will tell

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What happens when plants are happy…you get fruit!

I kept coming up against reviews for the book “Eat, Pray Love” last year. I fortuitously found a copy for 20c at a local op shop and thought that it was a sign that I should read it. Sometimes signs are put there in order for you to learn, and sometimes they are put there for some higher being to have a bit of a laugh. I get the feeling it was the latter case for me in this situation. I settled down to read the book and by the time I got to chapter 3 I couldn’t stand the heroine and was starting to wish terrible things down upon her self-indulgent head. I stopped reading it and vowed never to let it, or anything written by its author darken my doorstep again! “Eat, Pray, Love” was supposed to teach me something and indeed it did. It taught me “never rely on someone else’s reviews to dictate what is and isn’t going to be a good read!” Earl has his own version of “Eat, Pray, Love” it’s called “Eat, Prey, No love involved” I don’t want to give people the wrong impression about American Staffies. They get a bad rap through the press as it is but there are some dogs that are just born hunters and Earl is one of them. Bezial, also an American Staffy, isn’t. He was born with a black and white peace sign planted square on his private parts and he has been keeping the peace ever since. When Steve and I have one of our rare arguments (I argue, he hides) Bezial is right there between us gently pressing his warmth up against the protagonist (that would be me) and attempting to sooth the waters and bring about peace. Maybe he is the reincarnation of Ghandi and is asking me with those doggy eyes to give non-violent protest a chance 😉

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Happy mango seedlings grown from a seed. Time to repot them into bigger pots and let them overwinter another year before planting them out in the spring

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The tall (and most spectacular) euphorbia here was grown from a small piece pinched from a friends succulent. The cactus below it came in my mum’s shoe from Western Australia 😉

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The “Lone Banana” of Serendipity Farm still going after 4 seasons in our small glasshouse

Bezial will walk through the middle of a motley collection of chooks, cats, and small furry critters completely ignoring them. He would most probably love to leap into the centre of them and frolic for all he is worth but he knows that his freedom and ability to wander at will on Serendipity Farm (where Earl is on a leash at all times…) rely on him playing pool with our wishes. I must admit he does get a bit excited when he sees a rooster and that may, or may not, have something to do with me “releasing the hounds” (well…Bezial…) on said roosters whenever they bail up a poor unsuspecting hen and force their unwanted attentions upon her. Rape is rape folks. I am NOT speciesist and Bezial is my weapon of choice. Earl would do as good a job but the raper AND the rapee would both suffer the consequences of my outrageous indignation 😉

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More exotics…if you don’t try them you will never know. The large leafed beauties are turmeric, grown from a single organic rhizome bought from the health food shop and the lush leaves in the background are avocado’s grown from seed. The palmate leaf on the left hand lower side is my choko (“YES JESS I AM GOING TO PLANT IT OUT!” 😉 )

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A fully enclosed, “Garden Room” that I haven’t thought of what to put in here yet. Any ideas?

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Scarlet runner bean futures. They can be eaten green in their pods or dried and cooked from dry. A most ambidextrous bean indeed 🙂

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Pumpkins (triffids) who have decided that the grass is greener on the other side of the compound and who are heading off in a most determined way to prove it!

Look what I found the other day…a hazelnut! 🙂 we dug this small sapling up from a farm that we were working on. It was supposed to be discarded but we asked if we could have it and this year it has a solitary hazelnut. That’s what this is all about folks 🙂

You are getting 2 posts today. 1 recipe and 1 regular. I made the recipe the other day and saw that it had incredible possibilities and just wanted to share it with you all, especially Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle  because she is a fellow penniless middle aged bit-of-a-health-nut hippy and would completely and utterly “get” the benefits to this recipe 🙂 I have since had an inquiry from Jess at rabbidlittlehippy asking about how I make my buckwheat porridge. That’s a much easier proposition than this cereal but I must admit, I love this bolshie buckwheaty granola stuff. I have eaten it every day for breakfast since I made it and it keeps me full until dinner time. When you look into buckwheat you start to realise that it is a nutritional powerhouse

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=11

It has a distinct earthy flavour to it that I love but if you mix it with other flavours it carries them well. It grows well in just about any conditions, it can take extreme heat and extreme cold and it seems to like being beneficial in all stages of it’s life cycle. I love a good multi-use plant!

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I found some calendula (marigold) seeds on a plant on the side of the road verge the other day and decided to plant them and here are the very first marigolds grown by narf on Serendipity Farm 🙂

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Beans growing in the experimental compost heap of great glory. Please don’t ask me what kind…no idea…just beans 🙂

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These small seedlings are of a perennial plant known as “coin plant” or “honesty”

I am just waiting on my good friend Jenny previously known as “she-who-can’t-be-named”. She is the taskmaster who forced me to plant out a vegetable garden this year and so I guess I owe her for the entire mass tangle of fecundity that is threatening to take over Sidmouth as I type. I was watering happily the other day when I realised that as much as I adore permaculture and harvests, this little patch of green has fed my soul by simply being an oasis of growth in a sea of rapidly declining green cum brown paddock. It stands out like a beacon and at any time of the day you can find chooks circling it trying to scratch their way into the paradise beyond. Good luck with that chooks…after an early oversight on our behalf and a small invasion of the possum kind where said possum harvested a pathway right through my silverbeet and a small apple tree and ate a lime off a tiny little lime tree (that was how I knew we had been invaded by one of our furry foes…nothing else would eat an unripe lime!) which Steve and I patched up and fortified like Fort Knox, we haven’t had any other nocturnal (or otherwise) invaders to speak off aside from the odd insect but we also have a wonderful lizard population and a spider underclass that seem to be doing a sterling job of keeping the pest species to a minimum

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The view of the (triffid) garden from up in the top right hand corner

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This is what used to be my compost heap experimental patch and has been renamed the pumpkin patch

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Potted edibles mix with their raised bed siblings

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I got this red clover a year ago as an emaciated half dead specimen on the side of the road and it loves it’s new home on Serendipity Farm

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Another view point of the garden

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And yet another one. Whipper snipping the circumference of the garden beds made it much easier to really see the garden and how it is doing. Prior to this the grass and weeds were almost as high as the garden beds

My younger sister Cathy aka Pinky, got married last Thursday. She and her wonderful partner Jason have been together for almost 15 years and they finally decided to tie the knot. I am incredibly happy for them both because they are 2 of my most favourite people in the world. Cathy and I might be 2 strong women with strong personalities to go with the territory and it’s probably good that we are separated by a vast chunk of rocky Australia for most of the time but we would fight to the death for each other…she knows that I have her back and any time she really needs me, I will be there. Seriously Pinky…if you need a gas bottle changed, just send me a plane ticket and I will be there! 😉

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How we cook our dinner on a hot HOT summer’s night…outside with a view and accompanied by an ice cold beer 😉

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I took this shot to show Jess what feverfew flowers look like and decided that it was pretty so I am sharing it with you here 🙂

Well I don’t think I should waffle on too long in this post. Aside from wanting to get these 2 posts up and loaded nice and early, I have 2 of them to box your ears with and can’t expect you to wade through two long epistles in a single sitting. Have a fantastic week. Here in the South East of Australia we are copping a fair bit of heat at the moment but sooner than we know it, it will be autumn and that chilly wind will start to blow heralding another 6 months of Brunhilda crackling most companiably with me on my early morning starts. See you next Wednesday 🙂