Hercules and Sabrina in one day. Just another crazy week on Serendipity Farm  

Hi All,


This past week has seen me fast and furious on pumpkin futures and with still more pumpkins waiting to be processed. We have pumpkins on our barbecue and pumpkins in the laundry sink. Nuff said about pumpkins! I spent 2 days in slavetude to pumpkins and that’s enough for me for a week or so. I will deal with the rest of them in a much easier way thanks to Ms Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle who told me that you can just freeze pumpkin as is and it is perfectly fine when you thaw it…I love you Ms Wendy…your cheque is in the mail!


Pumpkin soup with pumpkin chunks (roasted) included (does that make them chumpkins?)


Quinces prior to them being grated (skin and all) down to the core in order to make quince wine

So that was 2 days of my life spent cutting, peeling and cooking pumpkin in various ways. I ended up making lots of most delicious jars of pumpkin and date butter which I have been using on my breakfast buckwheat porridge with great success. I also baked pumpkin in the oven without the lubrication of oil and it turned out to be a most dense product. I ended up throwing it into the vat of pumpkin soup that I also made in the vain hope that it might just soften up enough to become a little more edible than chewing on a log. It is in the freezer now, hiding its shame


Some grated quinces. This 20 litre container ended up full to the brim with grated quinces


The 20 litre (vat) stockpot of grated quinces needed to boil for 15 minutes and at the front you can see some brown sugar, butter, dried fruit and spices that I melted to make Steve some eccles cakes

I headed in to do our shopping at 5.30am on Saturday. Yes…5.30am. (“What kind of MORON does their shopping at 5.30am?!”…) I have a theory…my theory is this…if you head out at 5.30am and it takes you half an hour to get to the city, you can hit the shops at 6 for opening time, you can shop unhindered by other shoppers (aside from a few diehards like yourself who appear to have a secret handshake but I am not privy to that yet…maybe next fortnight…) you can get in, out, in, out (I go to several supermarkets in search of the elusive “special”) and by the time you finish the grocers, the hardware and any other specialty shop you desire will be open (9am is the magic hour here for said specialty shops). After that, you can zoom back down the west Tamar highway via your daughters if you need a chat, a cuppa or to drop something off, you can then pick up 3 large sacks of (swine!) chicken food and be home, all done and dusted by 10am. Works for me!


As part of one of our Design units we had to go to Wordle and create a wordle out of some text. Steve decided to try a new program called “Image Chef” that did the same thing as Wordle but MUCH more. You can create meme’s and insert your photos into some great templates to customise them and make yourself look very clever. Go take a look at Image Chef. You have to join it to save your work but it’s free to join so we did


Here’s another example of Stevie-boys handiwork…if you would like to check out what this website has to offer here is the link to the homepage…


I told Steve to have a sleep in and not to bother walking the dogs till I got back. We then headed out for our daily drag at 11am after I was fortified by tea and on the way back we saw Glad, our next door neighbour and her daughter Wendy having a confab on her front porch. I had been eyeing off the state of the oak leaf fallage on her front lawn and knowing that every year we have a storm that steals ALL of the oak leaves and deposits them in the Tamar River, out of reach but in sight (OH the ignominy!) and this year…this little black duck was NOT going to lost that opportunity to get herself some scrumptious leaves. Seeing Glad and Wendy spurred me (stupidly) up her steep driveway (covered with leaves) to ask her if I could rake them. They were both incredibly happy. I get the feeling that confab on the veranda was most probably a plan of attack for said leaves and may or may not have involved Wendy having to rake them all herself…either way the gratitude was palpable on both sides


What the ground looked like prior to me commencing raking on Sunday.


This was part of what I raked on Saturday just to give you an idea of the scope of the raking (this is just a small part of what I raked)

I headed home with Steve and the dogs; I drank a glass of water and headed back to what would be 2 days of raking leaves. We normally get the corner oak tree’s leaves that borders on our property and Glads but this year “the girls” were not so keen on raking them all themselves as they usually rake them, barrow them over to another part of the property and dump them to be burned (yes BURNED!) This year they decided that I was the lucky recipient of the rake that the gardener had left behind and would be wholeheartedly allowed to rake ALL of the leaves (aside from a few that fall on the garden beds and act as good mulch for our hot dry summers). Lucky me!


You can see what a lovely day it was on Sunday and you can also see that smart narf7 raked the leaves into piles


More piles of leaves nicely raked ready to be trundled off in our little trailer

The gardener had left that particular rake behind for a reason BUT I digress and I jump ahead in this fine story a little too far so remind me to tell you why in about another 2 paragraphs… Wendy grabbed the left-behind gardeners ENORMOUS leafage rake and I got our rectangular rake that dad had bought me (for some unknown reason) back in 2009 that was still in pristine condition due to my total lack of using it ;). We set to on the area at the very front of Glad’s house and when we had raked that Wendy (with obvious relief) headed off home for some lunch. I stayed…and raked…and raked…and RAKED…with the left-behind gardeners rake. I was there for 3 hours raking and we got 3 large trailer loads of leaves which Steve brought back up and dumped the first load over on a side lawn (who needs lawns?) and the second load in front of the house on top of the horse manure that we have been assimilating (like the Borg…the dung Borg…) so at 3pm I called it quits and dragged my tired self back home for a well-deserved cuppa and a rest


The left-behind rake and a clean raked area on Glad’s side and our leaf infested side on the other


Steve trundling off with a load of leaves

Our walk on Sunday morning we drove up to Rowella with the trailer on as Steve is a canny lad (that would be the gypsy bit coming out and reinforced my suspicion that his mum stole him from a gypsy camp when he was a baby…) and had decided to kill 2 birds with one stone aka “multitasking” something that narf7’s are not good at. We walked the dogs and then we drove up to our horse manure dealers house (surreptitiously, as you do, when you approach “dealers” of any kind) to see if he would use his tractor bucket to deposit a load of horse manure into said trailer. He was just on his way out with his horse so nope…Stevie-boy had to resort to shovelling with his compost rake BUT we did get a load. We will be heading back this weekend for about 5 more trailer loads to deposit on top of the leaves we just collected.


What the soil looks like underneath the oak leaves and a lot of it found it’s way over into the oak leaf basket on our side of the fence


Freshly raked and denuded of leaves

So we had a trailer of dung and we had a trailer load of leaves. 1 + 1 = a happy narf BUT a bit of a conundrum…we had at least another trailer or two of leaves coming back and leaves + dung = chicken invasion which coincidentally = a sad and angry narf. So what were we to do? Well I didn’t care as I was off at 11am down to rake more leaves…that was Stevie-boys problem along with chopping enough wood for the week. So I raked another 5 trailer loads of leaves and Stevie-boy kept driving down and depositing them in front of the house and we pathetically shovelled the 1 trailer load of horse manure on top of the mountainous pile in the vain hope that the chooks might miss (the equivalent of Mt. Everest) seeing the pile. Nope…they are canny too…apparently our chooks are gypsy as well 😦


I raked most of this area at the same time…


This is the after shot of that leaf filled image initially…minus the leaves


And this bit too…

So between shooing off the chooks and collecting more trailer loads of leaves Stevie-boy had his work cut out for him. He was joined by a totally knackered narf7 at 4pm and a teeteringly huge pile of leaves that reached the deck. We decided to cover them with a huge tarp that none of us can remember buying…ever… bits of roofing tin, chicken wire and anything else that we could find to try to prevent the chooks from doing their thang. I don’t know why we bother because chooks might be pretty dim-witted creatures but ours appear to be drawing on their velociraptor heritage and cunning as I noticed the first trailer load of leaves that had been covered with weldmesh, tarpaulins and chook wire has been tunnel mined into and dug out…mutter…mutter…mutter!


Looking back over the river minus leaves


An idea of just how beautiful the view is from Glad’s place

Anyhoo…back to the story. Oh yes…why did the gardener leave the rake behind? Because it regularly and painfully delivers splinters into the users hands THAT’S WHY! The rake itself is amazing. I was in love with its ability to just rake everything effortlessly and with quintessential ease. It seems to have balance and that huge rake base can grab just about anything and deposit it where you want it to go. It made a massive task (an acre of leaf raking) a much easier task for a 50 year old woman who hasn’t really done much physically in the last year and who REALLY appreciated those earlier years spent in the gym and muscle memory at the end of those 2 days. I surrendered that magnificent steed of a rake back to Glad, looking over my shoulder as I dragged my very tired, very sore derrière back home. Apparently Glad noted my obvious love for the gardeners left-behind rake and yesterday She phoned me up and told me that she had been to town with Wendy and they had bought me a ginormous brand spanking new leaf rake all of my own! I was dead chuffed! Even when I realised that they had an ulterior motive (noticed as soon as the rake was handed over the fence and Wendy said “you can have ALL of those leaves at the back of the house… 😉 ) I didn’t care. “Hercules” (for indeed, I shall be called upon to perform Herculean leaf raking events from now on…) has moved in to Serendipity Farm and aside from getting Steve to varnish his wooden handle, narf7 is replete with happiness for her new love


Should have done a panorama 😉

My niece Sabrina is staying with us for a couple of days as her boyfriend Ryan is competing in a Mixed Martial Arts fight in Launceston at the Albert Hall this Saturday Night. She tested Hercules and was amazed by his ability to rake. For a 23 year old girl to be amazed by anything that doesn’t involve iPhones, Apps, make-up and shopping you KNOW it is amazing :). Aside from wanting to record the latest “Game of Thrones” episode to watch at her leisure today, Sabrina has fitted in well with our lifestyle here on Serendipity Farm. I am tapping away here as she is still in bed at 8am but she IS on holiday and she can stay in bed as long as she likes 🙂 She has decided to either bravely, or stupidly (we both haven’t worked out which yet) volunteer to walk Earl this morning and I stupidly (I KNOW my outcome!) will be walking Bezial so when she does get up, shower, do whatever 23 year olds do to reboot themselves after a long nights sleep…we will be heading off and out the door. She wants to take photos of the Batman Bridge…it’s funny to a 23 year old you see “Batman” as in “Batman…nanananananana…Batman” so we will be trundling along at a high rate of knots behind 2 determined tanks in the direction of the Batman Bridge. I am going to take my camera as aside from a few tired shots of my leaf raking endeavours I don’t have much else to amuse your bouches today so here’s hoping there be fungus of many colours, that Earl and Bezial allow us to slow down somewhere before approaching Launceston on their mad pulling need to pee on every shrub on the journey and I can take a few wintery shots for you to see what Sidmouth looks like early winter. Its cold…it’s sunny…it’s lovely because everything is green all over again and it is COLD! (Did I mention that?)


Jerusalem artichokes that fell into my backpack on a recent walk…


This is to prove that we gave Sabrina something to drink and eat while she was here…note we encouraged her to mix her cough mixture with her alcohol…who needs sleeping tablets on Serendipity Farm? 😉

I have to pot up my purple sweet potato and a selection of Jerusalem artichokes that somehow found their way from the ground on the road verge into my backpack on a recent walk in Kayena today…I have to brave Sanctuary (my veggie garden) which is STILL GROWING MADLY in order to deposit 2 compost buckets worth of compost (I am attempting to appease the possum invaders and the rat overlords so they don’t eat what remains of my spinach). Weirdly, the rats/possums WHATEVER is eating my silverbeet are restricting themselves to a single bed of it. There are 3 other plants in the garden beds that are untouched. They have stripped the leaves from a single garden bed full of silverbeet…can anyone “Ploise asplain” that to me? Any seasoned gardeners with their fingers on the pulse of vegetable cultivation who can enlighten me will receive my eternal gratitude because curiosity didn’t only kill the cat!


We also fed Sabrina…can’t have her sucking down all of that booze and pseudoephidrine on an empty stomach now… (I feel the need to add a brief explanatory note here to stop everyone panicking…the last 2 captions were to make my sister spit wine at her iPhone whilst reading this blog post and in NO way echo what we encouraged Sabrina to actually do which was to drink responsibly and not drive…she did neither 😉 )



The pile of leaves after the chooks had been spreading the love around a bit

We have to design a fruit shop logo, a t-shirt to go with said fruit shop, a business card and a shop sign for our next design task. Sounds like fun to me :). I love it when we don’t have to research and we can just get creative. Pity I don’t have a lot of artistic flair and an even bigger pity that I don’t have bribe money to tempt my wonderfully creative blog followers ( you KNOW who you are! 😉 ) into doing it for me BUT ever the stoic (must be my German heritage) narf7 shall plod on with the task and no doubt I won’t be happy with what I produce at the end (I rarely am, mostly because I can’t draw like Leonardo Da Vinci…but whatchagonnadoeh?) but I WILL produce the work, it WILL be good enough and it WILL be on time.


And some more in the trailer


Sabrina holding up Hercules while Earl thinks she is about to give it to him as a treat. Note the sitting. You know when Earl is expecting something good, he sits 😉

I reckon that might be the omega of this blog post folks. I am sitting here contemplating what the heck I am going to cook for tea tonight. I already pulled the world famous calzones out of the bag yesterday and so that leaves me contemplating my food navel in order to please and delight my guest. Can’t have her going back home and saying “Aunty Fronkiii (My sister gave me the moniker “Fronkii” and when I hit 50 I gained another “i” by the time I hit 80 I will be Fronkiiiiii and will be rapidly approaching magnificence 😉 ) SUCKS at cooking” to my dear sister now can we?! I think we might make pies today. I will get Sabrina to help and will make some butter pastry, some rich meaty filling with veggies etc. and flaky puff pastry top. Who could resist pies when the weather is dropping down to 1C tonight and tomorrow it is apparently going to be raining? Isn’t life just 90% planning and 10% hurriedly running around like a chook with its head cut off panicking because your 90% planning was irrelevant and the world just bulldozed all of your plans into the ground in one fell swoop? 😉 Have a wonderful week folks. Wherever you are in the world I hope your week treats you well, that your loved ones give you at least 3 hugs and that something delights your sensibilities this week and you get to laugh and smile in the process. See you next week 🙂