And now we are five…plus 45 more…

Hi All,

It’s official. Stevie-boy turned 50 on Tuesday. He celebrated his day by helping a friend make a patio and had a very rich pie that was 2 days in the making with pastry (pate brisee) that could kill a lesser man (a ratio of almost equal proportions flour to fat) and a deceptively simple looking “cake” that contained 600g of chocolate. I figure he thought if he was going to hit 50, he may as well do it in style. He says he doesn’t feel a day older and he doesn’t look it either so he’s quite happy with achieving his half century mark.

 

Luxury pie

Luxury 50th birthday pie

It's not pretty but apparently it tasted amazing. Lots left for post 50th birthday snarfing

It’s not pretty but apparently it tasted amazing. Lots left for post 50th birthday snarfing

Looks decievingly demure but this baby has 600g of chocolate and a lot of brandy hidden in this innocent exterior

Looks decievingly demure but this baby has 600g of chocolate and a lot of brandy hidden in this innocent exterior

Birthday booze. Cheers Stewart and Kelsey for the Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz :)

Birthday booze. Cheers Stewart and Kelsey for the Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 🙂

I had a request to post the recipes for the vegan brownies and the zucchini and lemon curd recipes from Yelana of the gorgeous food blog Cooking Melangery in a recent comment. Yelena shares food from her home country Russia but lives in the U.S. Her blog is amazing. Incredibly beautiful photography, wonderful recipes and Yelena herself is a wonderful person. I couldn’t resist! So here they are just for you Yelena 🙂

http://www.theyummylife.com/Zucchini_Brownies

http://www.food.com/recipe/zucchini-cream-130433

Note you really don’t need the butter in the zucchini cream recipe but it does add an authentic “curd” texture and taste to the recipe

I may as well go whole hog and share a recipe from Amy’s amazing blog Fragrant Vanilla Cake that is vegan, contains both zucchini and lemons and is absolutely scrumptious. Everything that Amy makes is amazing. If you like healthy, delicious food, go and have a look at Amy’s amazing site

http://fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com.au/2011/09/vegan-zucchini-lemon-cake.html

It’s the middle of summer here in Australia and most of us are scratching our heads trying to work out what to do with zucchini’s so I thought that Yelena’s request might just be of benefit to some of you out there who are heartily sick of all things zucchini to find something else interesting to make with it.

This is one section of one of our insect hotels that I made a few years ago for our native insects. I checked it the other day and noticed that something is using it and that it is plugging up the holes with wattle leaves.

This is one section of one of our insect hotels that I made a few years ago for our native insects. I checked it the other day and noticed that something is using it and that it is plugging up the holes with wattle leaves.

Stewart and Kelsey came to visit on Saturday afternoon and brought me a few kilos of satsuma plums from their back yard tree. I decided to dehydrate them

Stewart and Kelsey came to visit on Saturday afternoon and brought me a few kilos of satsuma plums from their back yard tree. I decided to dehydrate them. First you stone and slice them

Then you load up your dehydrator sheets with slices

Then you load up your dehydrator sheets with slices

Once they are dehydrated you add them to your stash in the pantry. The plums are in the bottle on the left. The rest of these are dehydrated cherries

Once they are dehydrated you add them to your stash in the pantry. The plums are in the bottle on the left. The rest of these are dehydrated cherries

I often have serendipitous moments where something I have learned or researched suddenly pops into my head when I see something else. Today I was scrolling down my Facebook feed and noticed an article about a plant called Mullein (Verbascum thapsus). FINALLY I have a name for the plant that came up in the garden, all by itself and that keeps on keeping on no matter what. It moved into the “lawn” (along with the 2 blackwood saplings) and strutted it’s, not inconsiderable, stuff. It grew to almost 11 ft tall and I had a feeling that it was useful so rather than chop it down (or mow it…that’s what you are supposed to do with lawns isn’t it? 😉 ) I let it go and now I dare say we are going to have a lovely mullein explosion on Serendipity Farm. I don’t care. I am in the process of letting my globe artichokes go to seed so that I can save some to share and sprinkle them all over the place. It’s the same thing that keeps me planting out little patches of Jerusalem artichokes in sheltered spots where the grazing wallabies can’t chew them down to the ground. I love food and herb plants that don’t need molly-coddling and that just get on with it in our long dry summers. Here’s an article about how valuable mullein is in our gardens…

http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/herb-to-know-mullein-verbascum-thapsus.aspx?PageId=1#axzz3Q3gqA8DR

The strawberry water wicked boat is keeping these strawberries nice and moist and they are all very happy that they migrated to the good ship strawberry. I even have some new fruit being produced.

The strawberry water wicked boat is keeping these strawberries nice and moist and they are all very happy that they migrated to the good ship strawberry. I even have some new fruit being produced.

It's a foolish man that lays on the floor when there are dogs around ;)

It’s a foolish man that lays on the floor when there are dogs around 😉

This is what your hair looks like if you get your hair wet when you have a plait and you don't take the plait out for 2 days ;)

This is what your hair looks like if you get your hair wet when you have a plait and you don’t take the plait out for 2 days 😉

Serendipity Farm from the deck this morning. Another glorious mild summers day 2015 :)

Serendipity Farm from the deck this morning. Another glorious mild summers day 2015 🙂

I was looking at Gumtree the other day and saw this ad for a spinning wheel for $100 in Launceston

I was looking at Gumtree the other day and saw this ad for a spinning wheel for $100 in Launceston

Look what now lives at narf's house :)

Look what now lives at narf’s house 🙂 Thank you SO much Stewart and Kelsey for picking it up and bringing it out for me

I am learning to appreciate “weeds” for their tenacity as well as their actual uses. Spear thistles are not just there to spike me mercilessly whenever I attempt to go down to the second garden (obviously I want to have a mental breakdown…), blackberries have many uses that their thorny angst would bely. Most of our common weeds are European edibles that we just see as pests. I think it’s important to know that “weeds” can also tell you about your soil conditions and tend to be the fixer-upperers of the soil web. Nature knows what she is doing, it’s just us that keep wanting to interject with our obviously superior wisdom 😉

 

Black radish flowers. Once they go to seed I will collect the seed. Note, these black radishes were very hot and spicy. If you like your radishes mild, these might not be a good variety for you to grow

Black radish flowers. Once they go to seed I will collect the seed. Note, these black radishes were very hot and spicy. If you like your radishes mild, these might not be a good variety for you to grow

It's a jungle of tomatoes in Sanctuary. Most of this mass tangle is tomatoes. I am going to have to learn how to prune tomatoes one of these days!

It’s a jungle of tomatoes in Sanctuary. Most of this mass tangle is tomatoes. I am going to have to learn how to prune tomatoes one of these days!

Curly kale and red Russian kale  babies that survived being planted at the wrong time and that haven't bolted to seed as I planted them in a shady spot. Fingers crossed I might get some kale!

Curly kale and red Russian kale babies that survived being planted at the wrong time and that haven’t bolted to seed as I planted them in a shady spot. Fingers crossed I might get some kale!

More mass tangle but at least it is green and most of it appears to be flowering and producing tomatoes

More mass tangle but at least it is green and most of it appears to be flowering and producing tomatoes

I found this tiny little tomato growing in among the strawberries in one of the pots that I transplanted into the strawberry boat so he got potted up with this chive plant for companionship. I am a champion of the underdog and even though it is probably WAY too late for this little tomato to be productive, who cares, he was tenacious so he gets to live :)

I found this tiny little tomato growing in among the strawberries in one of the pots that I transplanted into the strawberry boat so he got potted up with this chive plant for companionship. I am a champion of the underdog and even though it is probably WAY too late for this little tomato to be productive, who cares, he was tenacious so he gets to live 🙂

My moringa's growing like topsy

My moringa’s growing like topsy

My cherimoyas enjoying the sunshine

My cherimoyas enjoying the sunshine

This is a King orchid. I never realised that it is an Australian native orchid but all I know is it was dad's "beer orchid" and he only ever watered it with the dregs from his cans of beer. We are going to mount it on the tree to the right of this image in sphagnum moss to make it happy

This is a King orchid. I never realised that it is an Australian native orchid but all I know is it was dad’s “beer orchid” and he only ever watered it with the dregs from his cans of beer. We are going to mount it on the tree to the right of this image in sphagnum moss to make it happy

This bit of the garden looks a bit more "normal" as veggie gardens go. Still chaotic but you can at least see a bit of variety. The pots of artichokes are growing really well now

This bit of the garden looks a bit more “normal” as veggie gardens go. Still chaotic but you can at least see a bit of variety. The pots of artichokes are growing really well now

It’s been a most wonderful week on Serendipity Farm. We had some rain and our temperatures are in the low to mid 20’s (celcius). Life has been very good to us in 2015. The rest of this blog post is going to be in comments. I hope you enjoy the garden and other images and can feel a bit of our lovely sunshiny summer in them. Have a scrumptious week. I am animating some sourdough starter that was sent to me by the amazing Ms Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial (isn’t that a lovely name? 🙂 ). Ms Celia’s sourdough is called Priscilla and we, the lucky recipients of little packets of Priscilla, were urged to incorporate something of her name in our new starters names. I decided that I wanted to take back sourdough baking in my kitchen this year. I have dabbled in sourdough before with very mixed results (vinegar brick loaves) so I needed a name for my new starter that was going to waylay my fears and give me a fearless attitude. I came up with Godscilla and hope that my starter lives up to it’s lofty name.

 

Some of the many sprays of tomatoes that my 2 San Marzano tomatoes are producing. Hopefully we get lots of ripe ones so that I can turn them into amazing sauce :)

Some of the many sprays of tomatoes that my 2 San Marzano tomatoes are producing. Hopefully we get lots of ripe ones so that I can turn them into amazing sauce 🙂

My pepino's have had lots of flowers but haven't set any fruit this year. It can't be for lack of pollinators as there are bees all over them. Maybe they are a bit overwhelmed by the close proximity of the ever present tomato clan? Any ideas Bev?

My pepino’s have had lots of flowers but haven’t set any fruit this year. It can’t be for lack of pollinators as there are bees all over them. Maybe they are a bit overwhelmed by the close proximity of the ever present tomato clan? Any ideas Bev?

My 4 turmeric plants planted out into what was a horse manure pile last year. It is now amazingly black soil that retains moisture well. Hopefully the turmeric like it here

My 4 turmeric plants planted out into what was a horse manure pile last year. It is now amazingly black soil that retains moisture well. Hopefully the turmeric like it here

My poor long suffering cardamom plants finally got planted out. They are already starting to grow new leaves and I can almost hear them saying "thank GOODNESS!" ;)

My poor long suffering cardamom plants finally got planted out. They are already starting to grow new leaves and I can almost hear them saying “thank GOODNESS!” 😉

One of the tomatillo babies that I planted out into the first of the new veggie gardens a few weeks ago. Everything is starting to take of in the new garden beds but the tomatillos are galloping away and some are even flowering. I will be most interested to see what they look like when they fruit.

One of the tomatillo babies that I planted out into the first of the new veggie gardens a few weeks ago. Everything is starting to take of in the new garden beds but the tomatillos are galloping away and some are even flowering. I will be most interested to see what they look like when they fruit.

These are my terracotta pots that I used to have cactus and succulents in. There are still a few in the pots but the pots have a new use, to stop the hose from invading the garden bed. They are doing a great job :)

These are my terracotta pots that I used to have cactus and succulents in. There are still a few in the pots but the pots have a new use, to stop the hose from invading the garden bed. They are doing a great job 🙂

My cucamelons (aka mouse melons) have flowers! You can see the tiny fruit forming behind the flower

My cucamelons (aka mouse melons) have flowers! You can see the tiny fruit forming behind the flower

My pumpkins are fruiting all over the place. Without the possums chewing the fruit as they form it looks like I might get a lot of fruit this year :)

My pumpkins are fruiting all over the place. Without the possums chewing the fruit as they form it looks like I might get a lot of fruit this year 🙂

The new red currant grape that we picked up from Bunnings the other day. I am saving up for a red finger lime now but that's a LOT more expensive than my little red currant grape ;)

The new red currant grape that we picked up from Bunnings the other day. I am saving up for a red finger lime now but that’s a LOT more expensive than my little red currant grape 😉

A close up of one of my grown from cutting sweet potato vines

A close up of one of my grown from cutting sweet potato vines

That feathery green thing is an asparagus plant that was in one of my strawberry pots so it got transplanted out as well. Nothing goes to waste on Serendipity Farm :)

That feathery green thing is an asparagus plant that was in one of my strawberry pots so it got transplanted out as well. Nothing goes to waste on Serendipity Farm 🙂

Looking down from the far back of Sanctuary. It looks a lot neater now we gave it a haircut ;)

Looking down from the far back of Sanctuary. It looks a lot neater now we gave it a haircut 😉

 

I got this succulent from a friend that I met via a Facebook page I have just started to follow.

I got this succulent from a friend that I met via a Facebook page I have just started to follow.

She also gave me these amazingly HUGE figs and a promise that I can take some cuttings in winter. Aren't they gorgeous?

She also gave me these amazingly HUGE figs and a promise that I can take some cuttings in winter. Aren’t they gorgeous?

This is Shrek. I bought him when he was in a teeny tiny pot and he is one of the only succulents that the ducks weren't partial to so he lived to find a home in Sanctuary

This is Shrek. I bought him when he was in a teeny tiny pot and he is one of the only succulents that the ducks weren’t partial to so he lived to find a home in Sanctuary

The colour of the flower tends to be the colour of the potato under the ground. I am hoping these adventitious spuds that grew from the compost bucket are pink eyes :)

The colour of the flower tends to be the colour of the potato under the ground. I am hoping these adventitious spuds that grew from the compost bucket are pink eyes 🙂

Myer lemon futures :)

Myer lemon futures 🙂

A pot full of oca and very healthy leaves. I am going to have to work out a place to make them a garden bed but for now they are in a nice big pot and seem happy enough to grow there for the moment.

A pot full of oca and very healthy leaves. I am going to have to work out a place to make them a garden bed but for now they are in a nice big pot and seem happy enough to grow there for the moment.

Steve captured this native hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatum) beautifully. I tried about 20 times but every shot was blurry. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold em'! ;)

Steve captured this native hyacinth orchid (Dipodium punctatum) growing up next to the chook yard beautifully. I tried about 20 times but every shot was blurry. I guess sometimes you just have to know when to fold em’! 😉

Steve's new camera is giving him a lot of happiness. He is taking some seriously lovely photos with it.

Steve’s new camera is giving him a lot of happiness. He is taking some seriously lovely photos with it.

Like this one

Like this one

And this one. He did use a polarising filter with this one though

And this one. He did use a polarising filter with this one though

He took this photo from the small jetty at the boat ramp just down the road from us

He took this photo from the small jetty at the boat ramp just down the road from us

And this one of my ingenious ability to drink beer when I can't use my hands because they were sticky with cherry juice

And this one of my ingenious ability to drink beer when I can’t use my hands because they were sticky with cherry juice

And after a while, when your husband insists on taking "urban degradation" shots from every industrial area known to man you develop a stoic resilience and just smile and wave whenever you are told to ;)

And after a while, when your husband insists on taking “urban degradation” shots from every industrial area known to man you develop a stoic resilience and just smile and wave whenever you are told to 😉

I was going to have this corner shower unit as a pond in Sanctuary but now that the strawberry wicking beds are doing so well, I might make it a water wicked bed for cranberries.

I was going to have this corner shower unit as a pond in Sanctuary but now that the strawberry wicking beds are doing so well, I might make it a water wicked bed for cranberries.

This is our walnut tree. This year we mulched underneath it with hay from Glad's place next door. It seems to be much happier than it usually is but then again, we have had a much milder season this year with a lot more rain so I can't be sure.

This is our walnut tree. This year we mulched underneath it with hay from Glad’s place next door. It seems to be much happier than it usually is but then again, we have had a much milder season this year with a lot more rain so I can’t be sure.

Walnut sap is incredibly full of bitter tannins. That doesn't stop the wallabies from stripping all of the leaves that they can reach from the ground. I think they must have cast iron stomachs!

Walnut sap is incredibly full of bitter tannins. That doesn’t stop the wallabies from stripping all of the leaves that they can reach from the ground. I think they must have cast iron stomachs!

These are some of the tea trees (Melaleuca alternifolia) at the front of our block. We have about an acre of them growing and a new friend on the "Fans of Grassroots Magazine" page that I am now following on Facebook has just told me how to extract tea tree oil from them if we ever choose to. I am learning SO much from that page! :)

These are some of the tea trees (Melaleuca alternifolia) at the front of our block. We have about an acre of them growing and a new friend on the “Fans of Grassroots Magazine” page that I am now following on Facebook has just told me how to extract tea tree oil from them if we ever choose to. I am learning SO much from that page! 🙂

Earl (Mr Big Head) surveying his drive way

Earl (Mr Big Head) surveying his drive way

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum tee-hee!) are incredibly hardy and drought tolerant. This clump grows down the driveway and never gets watered. They pop up all over the place and unlike their unwanted friends the osteospermum (Margerita) daisies, I really like them :)

Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum tee-hee!) are incredibly hardy and drought tolerant. This clump grows down the driveway and never gets watered. They pop up all over the place and unlike their unwanted friends the osteospermum (Margerita) daisies, I really like them 🙂

Part of the jungle we call a "garden" at the front of the house on the side of the driveway. The canna lily is growing really well and I picked up a few more pots of them to add to the mix. I love anything that grows well with no water and that has pretty flowers and edible roots. It all adds up to a win-win situation for Serendipity Farm :)

Part of the jungle we call a “garden” at the front of the house on the side of the driveway. The canna lily is growing really well and I picked up a few more pots of them to add to the mix. I love anything that grows well with no water and that has pretty flowers and edible roots. It all adds up to a win-win situation for Serendipity Farm 🙂

We still have green grass in the middle of summer! It has been a very mild summer this year and I love it! :)

We still have green grass in the middle of summer! It has been a very mild summer this year and I love it! 🙂

Here's my little packet of Priscilla promise. She is an 8 year old starter that works like magic. I am hoping that she will rub off her glorious possibilities onto my hereto pathetic sourdough baking efforts on Serendipity Farm. Her new name is Godscilla and long may she reign in the kitchen! Wish me luck folks, I am going in! :)

Here’s my little packet of Priscilla promise. She is an 8 year old starter that works like magic. I am hoping that she will rub off her glorious possibilities onto my hereto pathetic sourdough baking efforts on Serendipity Farm. Her new name is Godscilla and long may she reign in the kitchen! Wish me luck folks, I am going in! 🙂

And so we arrive at the end of another week on Serendipity Farm. So far, 2015 has been a glorious year and we have enjoyed it a lot. I will have hopefully had a go at spinning the alpaca fleece that I have sitting in my spare room by the next time we meet and I can show you what my efforts look like but I am not promising anything! Have a wonderful week whatever you are doing and wherever you are in the world. See you next week on Serendipity Farm 🙂

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!

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

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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

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

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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!

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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

bugs

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…

 http://www.imagechef.com/

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

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

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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!

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

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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

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

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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.

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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

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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 😦

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I raked most of this area at the same time…

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

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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!

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Looking back over the river minus leaves

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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

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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?)

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

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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!

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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 😉 )

 

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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.

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And some more in the trailer

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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 🙂