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 🙂

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One busy week deserves another

Hi All,

 

Last weeks picture post was apparently greatly appreciated by most people. I think I wrote a blog post in comments which seemed to suit everyone so I think I might just carry on with this kind of post for a while (till something better comes along and inspires me 😉 ). Ms Rabid shared a pin with me this week that completely blew me away. We have a little groundcover growing on the desperately dry area between our driveway at the front of the deck and the first garden (lower down). Every year it survives with the odd squirt from the hose and keeps spreading. I just found out from Ms Rabid that it is actually a form of creeping groundcover raspberry called Rubus pentalobus. You learn something every day! Mine flowers but hasn’t ever set fruit and the conditions that the poor plant is living in I am not surprised. Guess who is going to take lots of cuttings and care for it and fertilise it and plant it ALL OVER THE PLACE now that I know that it has value in a permaculture garden other than holding the slope together in the arid conditions that we call “Summer” here. What a valuable little plant! 🙂 Ok, lets get into it then…what has happened since last Wednesday…

This is the Rubus pentalobus that Ms Rabid mentioned the other day. I am quite sure it's what she was talking about and here's the blog post that backed me up... http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/permaculture-plants-groundcover.html

This is the Rubus pentalobus that Ms Rabid mentioned the other day. I am quite sure it’s what she was talking about and here’s the blog post that backed me up… http://tcpermaculture.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/permaculture-plants-groundcover.html

 

Steve needed a new workbench in his shed and so we cut up our old kitchen table to repurpose it for the job.

Steve needed a new workbench in his shed and so we cut up our old kitchen table to repurpose it for the job.

We didn't disturb the tenants, they get angry when you make too much noise...

We didn’t disturb the tenants, they get angry when you make too much noise…

Once the table/bench was in Steve decided to rearrange his shed and tidy it up and here's what it looks like now

Once the table/bench was in Steve decided to rearrange his shed and tidy it up and here’s what it looks like now

We took a lot of rubbish down to the tip (and lots to the tip shop) and we always check the tip shop in case there is something we can use in the garden. This time we found this half keg with holes drilled in the bottom that is going to be Steve's new shed bin.

We took a lot of rubbish down to the tip (and lots to the tip shop) and we always check the tip shop in case there is something we can use in the garden. This time we found this half keg with holes drilled in the bottom that is going to be Steve’s new shed bin.

We also bought this very deep corner shower unit for $5 to be repurposed as a pond under the new tap that Steve installed in Sanctuary for me. Here, Steve is removing the lip from the top of the shower/bath

We also bought this very deep corner shower unit for $5 to be repurposed as a pond under the new tap that Steve installed in Sanctuary for me. Here, Steve is removing the lip from the top of the shower/bath

Nice smooth top and time to make sure that the water doesn't come out when it is filled

Nice smooth top and time to make sure that the water doesn’t come out when it is filled. Steve found a thick plastic lid and cut a circle out of it

Then he applied lots of silicone and let it dry/set before we took it up to Sanctuary.

Then he applied lots of silicone and let it dry/set before we took it up to Sanctuary.

The tip shop has a shed with more discarded treasures and we picked up some teddies for the dogs to play with and when I was sorting through them to weed out the teddies that didn't have beans inside them (bad mistake to buy teddies with beans inside them for dogs ;) ) I found this lovely little rabbit. He is very cute but that's not why I bought him...

The tip shop has a shed with more discarded treasures and we picked up some teddies for the dogs to play with and when I was sorting through them to weed out the teddies that didn’t have beans inside them (bad mistake to buy teddies with beans inside them for dogs 😉 ) I found this lovely little rabbit. He is very cute but that’s not why I bought him…

This is why I bought him for the princely sum of 20c. He is a vintage Steiff bunny.

This is why I bought him for the princely sum of 20c. He is a vintage Steiff bunny. Sometimes it pays to go to the tip shop 🙂

We had been working very hard so we stopped for a beer (Steve) and a shandy (me...I am a lightweight ;) ). Nothing tastes as good on a hot day as a very cold beer

We had been working very hard so we stopped for a beer (Steve) and a shandy (me…I am a lightweight 😉 ). Nothing tastes as good on a hot day as a very cold beer

More zucchini's from our 4 plants that are about to be made into zucchini and lemon curd and vegan zucchini brownies

More zucchini’s from our 4 plants that are about to be made into zucchini and lemon curd and vegan zucchini brownies

Bev from foodnstuff talked about bush tucker the other day and when we were walking the dogs in the local bushland we found these Pale flax lilies (Dianella longifolia) so I collected them and am drying them out so that I can grow some Serendipity Farm bush tucker for the native animals. Thank you for telling us about them Bev :)

Bev from foodnstuff talked about bush tucker the other day and when we were walking the dogs in the local bushland we found these Pale flax lilies (Dianella longifolia) so I collected them and am drying them out so that I can grow some Serendipity Farm bush tucker for the native animals. Thank you for telling us about them Bev 🙂

2 more sacks of cherries and after someone who shall not be named ate quite a few of them we turned them into these...

3 more sacks of cherries and after someone who shall not be named ate quite a few of them we turned them into these…

Dehydrated cherries that taste amazing!

Dehydrated cherries that taste amazing!

This was the state of the area behind the glasshouse and just inside Sanctuary's entrance last week...

This was the state of the area behind the glasshouse and just inside Sanctuary’s entrance last week…

A few scratches later and we were left with this...

A few scratches later and we were left with this…

And now we have added a piece of old trellis and have planted out our kiwiberry in this area.

And now we have added a piece of old trellis and have planted out our kiwiberry in this area.

A closer shot of the kiwiberry. It will take up to 5 years for it to fruit but once it starts it produces a lot of berries.

A closer shot of the kiwiberry. It will take up to 5 years for it to fruit but once it starts it produces a lot of berries.

Here you can see some blackcurrant cuttings from a lovely lady called Ruth who I met through a facebook page that I am actively participating in called "Fans of Grassroots Magazine". I love finding amazing community and this group of people are wonderfully interesting, very helpful, incredibly generous and know a huge amount about growing food plants. I got talking to a lady in Queensland and she mentioned her friend Ruth who just lives over the river from us and yesterday I met Ruth and had a really lovely time chatting to her about gardening etc. She also gave me some perpetual leeks to add to our garden mix, 2 different kinds of mint for my new mint bed (in the half fridge) and I can take some cuttings from her fig tree that grows figs the size of my fist. I LOVE community! Also in this shot is my new thornless blackberry that Stevie-boy bought me yesterday when he did the fortnightly shop in Launceston

Here you can see some blackcurrant cuttings from a lovely lady called Ruth who I met through a facebook page that I am actively participating in called “Fans of Grassroots Magazine”. I love finding amazing community and this group of people are wonderfully interesting, very helpful, incredibly generous and know a huge amount about growing food plants. I got talking to a lady in Queensland and she mentioned her friend Ruth who just lives over the river from us and yesterday I met Ruth and had a really lovely time chatting to her about gardening etc. She also gave me some perpetual leeks to add to our garden mix, 2 different kinds of mint for my new mint bed (in the half fridge) and I can take some cuttings from her fig tree that grows figs the size of my fist. I LOVE community! Also in this shot is my new thornless blackberry that Stevie-boy bought me yesterday when he did the fortnightly shop in Launceston

Here is the thornless blackberry at the end of one of the new garden beds with it's new support structure

Here is the thornless blackberry at the end of one of the new garden beds with it’s new support structure

Stevie-boy is still looking for photo opportunities at any given time ;)

Stevie-boy is still looking for photo opportunities at any given time ;). I am reading a Patricia Cornwall novel here. I love a good forensic crime novel.

We stacked all of the woodpile at the bottom of the driveway together into 2 large rows so that the split wood will dry well over summer and to make room for the next load of wood arriving soon.

We stacked all of the woodpile at the bottom of the driveway together into 2 large rows so that the split wood will dry well over summer and to make room for the next load of wood arriving soon.

In the process we found something amazing. The last load of wood got dumped on top of one of our brachychiton babies that we grew from seed and planted out down the driveway. 14 tonnes of wood sat on this poor little tree for the best part of a year and when we moved the last of the wood pile to stack it up we noticed that not only was it alive, but it had new leaves! How resilient are plants?!

In the process we found something amazing. The last load of wood got dumped on top of one of our brachychiton babies that we grew from seed and planted out down the driveway. 14 tonnes of wood sat on this poor little tree for the best part of a year and when we moved the last of the wood pile to stack it up we noticed that not only was it alive, but it had new leaves! How resilient are plants?! Stevie-boy is going to dig it up and move it. I doubt it will be so lucky after another 14 tonnes gets dumped on it…

This is our front gate (open) as we headed out to take the dogs for a mystery walk. It was a mystery to the dogs and I but Stevie-boy was driving and knew where he was going...

This is our front gate (open) as we headed out to take the dogs for a mystery walk. It was a mystery to the dogs and I but Stevie-boy was driving and knew where he was going…

We went to Georgetown, 20km away on the coast where the dogs love to walk. Here's a windswept pine on the boardwalk as we were walking (being dragged in a most determined manner by) the dogs

We went to Georgetown, 20km away on the coast where the dogs love to walk. Here’s a windswept pine on the boardwalk as we were walking (being dragged in a most determined manner by) the dogs

This was taken on the boardwalk further up. We live in a lovely place :)

This was taken on the boardwalk further up. We live in a lovely place 🙂

Georgetown is very historical but not as historical as Low head where we took a snap of this very old house and gardens. We thought it particularly fitting to include it in this weeks post as next Monday is Australia day and that's our flag folks! :)

Georgetown is very historical but not as historical as Low head where we took a snap of this very old house and gardens. We thought it particularly fitting to include it in this weeks post as next Monday is Australia day and that’s our flag folks! 🙂

Steve saw this naked bathing beauty on one of the Georgetown beaches...

Steve saw this naked bathing beauty on one of the Georgetown beaches…

She then had a bit of a swim ;)

She then had a bit of a swim 😉

Steve took this photo on today's walk. It was overcast and very humid and the tide was out so we were able to walk out to this little outcrop that is usually an island in the water.

Steve took this photo on today’s walk. It was overcast and very humid and the tide was out so we were able to walk out to this little outcrop that is usually an island in the water.

The other day we walked the dogs on a bush track and Steve saw these hibiscus/cotton bugs. I have NO idea where they are going to find cotton or hibiscus around here! Most interestingly, the adults live together with the young in a colony.

The other day we walked the dogs on a bush track and Steve saw these hibiscus/cotton bugs. I have NO idea where they are going to find cotton or hibiscus around here! Most interestingly, the adults live together with the young in a colony.

Steve took this lovely artistic shot today when we headed over to Hillwood, over the Batman bridge to walk the dogs this afternoon and see if we could buy some more jam cherries for $1.50 a kilo

Steve took this lovely artistic shot today when we headed over to Hillwood, over the Batman bridge to walk the dogs this afternoon and see if we could buy some more jam cherries for $1.50 a kilo. The person who lives in this house has several brightly coloured unusual items artistically displayed in their garden and Steve liked this door in particular

I am going to dehydrate 10 kilos of these cherries and Steve is going to make cherry wine with 3kg. The potatoes were dug up when we were planting out my turmeric this afternoon. I wasn't intending to dig up spuds but there they were, right in the way of my turmeric planting venture so they had to come out.

I am going to dehydrate 10 kilos of these cherries and Steve is going to make cherry wine with 3kg. The potatoes were dug up when we were planting out my turmeric this afternoon. I wasn’t intending to dig up spuds but there they were, right in the way of my turmeric planting venture so they had to come out.

I planted out my 4 pots of turmeric as well as my 2 pots of cardamom after doing some research and finding out that both should do fine in the ground here.

I planted out my 4 pots of turmeric as well as my 2 pots of cardamom after doing some research and finding out that both should do fine in the ground here.

Here's my ungrafted Nelly Kelly passionfruit vine. Even though it might be less vigorous than a grafted version, it won't send up suckers from the rootstock and we already have enough weird and wonderful weedy passionfruit on the property thank you! I will take cuttings from it when it gets older to make sure that we never have to buy another one. The vines last for about 7 years.

Here’s my ungrafted Nelly Kelly passionfruit vine. Even though it might be less vigorous than a grafted version, it won’t send up suckers from the rootstock and we already have enough weird and wonderful weedy passionfruit on the property thank you! I will take cuttings from it when it gets older to make sure that we never have to buy another one. The vines last for about 7 years.

While I was starting to plant out the cardamom the skies opened up and we got a torrential downpour. Steve and the dogs hid in the glasshouse but I decided to carry on planting

While I was starting to plant out the cardamom the skies opened up and we got a torrential downpour. Steve and the dogs hid in the glasshouse but I decided to carry on planting. Stevie-boy took this photo from the dry glasshouse while I was out in the rain

 

Here I am with a shirt full of spuds after slipping over in the slippery mud. I won't show you the back of my pants ;)

Here I am with a shirt full of spuds after slipping over in the slippery mud. I won’t show you the back of my pants 😉

Here are my 5 cherimoya seedlings loving the glasshouse temperatures and my little population of indigo seedlings that I am letting grow on a bit till I repot them.

Here are my 5 cherimoya seedlings loving the glasshouse temperatures and my little population of Moringa seedlings that I am letting grow on a bit till I repot them. There are more moringa’s germinating every day so I will just let them grow a bit till I pot them up.

I potted up these 2 as they were growing well. The 4 pots in the rear contain some fresh macadamia nuts, 3 seeds in each pot (12 in total). In order to have the best chance of germination they need to be under 3 months old and they need to be planted with the blossom end sideways. Fingers crossed I get some to germinate and one day macadamia nut trees will grow on Serendipity Farm :)

I potted up these 2 as they were growing well. The 4 pots in the rear contain some fresh macadamia nuts, 3 seeds in each pot (12 in total). In order to have the best chance of germination they need to be under 3 months old and they need to be planted with the blossom end sideways. Fingers crossed I get some to germinate and one day macadamia nut trees will grow on Serendipity Farm 🙂

We finally finished the water wicked strawberry bed. Here is a strawberry blond dog inspecting the bed for comforts sake

We finally finished the water wicked strawberry bed. Here is a strawberry blond dog inspecting the bed for comforts sake

After being busted for pelting through one of my garden beds, Earl has retreated to his favourite spot in Sanctuary to sulk...

After being busted for pelting through one of my garden beds, Earl has retreated to his favourite spot in Sanctuary to sulk… I am not holding out much hope for my poor strawberries once I get around to replanting them in here 😉

Isn't this tuberous begonia pretty? I bought some a few years ago that were in the plant throw-out bin at a local nursery for $2 each. I ended up with 3 of them that grow and flower ever year. Lovely leaves and lovely flowers and very easy to grow.

Isn’t this tuberous begonia pretty? I bought some a few years ago that were in the plant throw-out bin at a local nursery for $2 each. I ended up with 3 of them that grow and flower ever year. Lovely leaves and lovely flowers and very easy to grow.

Steve took this shot of an interesting seaweed that had washed up on the beach the other day

Steve took this shot of an interesting seaweed that had washed up on the beach the other day

Lastly, I was just about to squash some aphids infesting the new growth on this loquat japonica when I noticed a ladybird was just about to do my job for me. I love it when natures cycles kick in to deal with our pests :)

Lastly, I was just about to squash some aphids infesting the new growth on this loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) when I noticed a ladybird was just about to do my job for me. I love it when natures cycles kick in to deal with our pests 🙂

 

So that was our week folks. Pretty full on and we did, and accomplished a whole lot in this time. I hope that you all spent your time productively and enjoyably. I am off to cook a bechamel sauce for a lasagna that I am making Stevie-boy for his dinner tonight. He turns 50 on Tuesday, the day after Australia Day, so he will get an extra special dinner on that night and a very scrumptious cake. See you all next week and whatever you are doing, do it well. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot humid post in images

Hi All,

It is hot and humid here today after a solid torrential downpour that lasted all night. I think we woke up and had moved to Queensland! It was a toss-up between slaving over a hot blog post and giving you images today so I went with the images so to all of my dear constant readers who like words, you are going to have to satisfy yourself with the image captions. I hope it cools down soon or I will have to type my next blog post prostrate on the bathroom floor! Have a great week and see you next Wednesday…

Before we get down to garden business, look what arrived in the mail today just in time to get into today's blog post.Ms Pauline made me bunting and sent me some most desirable bottle caps that I don't have.

Before we get down to garden business, look what arrived in the mail today just in time to get into today’s blog post.Ms Pauline made me bunting and sent me some most desirable bottle caps that I don’t have.

And here is the gorgeous outdoor bunting that Ms Pauline created. Isn't she clever? It's beautiful Pauline and you are very clever and talented and I am in awe of your sewing ability :)

And here is the gorgeous outdoor bunting that Ms Pauline created. Isn’t she clever? It’s beautiful Pauline and you are very clever and talented and I am in awe of your sewing ability 🙂

Steve has been going nuts with his new Nikon 7100. SO nuts in fact that I have had to take evasive action in order to prevent myself being photographed unmercilessly.

Steve has been going nuts with his new Nikon 7100. SO nuts in fact that I have had to take evasive action in order to prevent myself being photographed unmercilessly.

Steve took a series of photographs and used Photoshop to meld them into a panorama. This was taken at Beauty Point this week when we were walking the dogs.

Steve took a series of photographs and used Photoshop to meld them into a panorama. This was taken at Beauty Point this week when we were walking the dogs.

Here's another panorama taken further down the beach. This is Bezial's absolutely favourite place to be as he occasionally gets allowed off leash and gets to have a swim. He tends to occupy his time hunting for (non existant) fish but whatever floats your boat Bezial ;). He only ever goes up to his chest.

Here’s another panorama taken further down the beach. This is Bezial’s absolutely favourite place to be as he occasionally gets allowed off leash and gets to have a swim. He tends to occupy his time hunting for (non existant) fish but whatever floats your boat Bezial ;). He only ever goes up to his chest.

I thought this was a nice photo of Earl standing on the deck and as he has fans out there, I decided to share it with you. You know who you are ;)

I thought this was a nice photo of Earl standing on the deck and as he has fans out there, I decided to share it with you. You know who you are 😉

We walked in a sticky hot Beaconsfield today and the sole saving grace was this find...the blackberries are starting to ripen! This small enclave of blackberries are always the best so now that I know that they are starting to ripen, we will be visiting Beaconsfield quite a lot ;)

We walked in a sticky hot Beaconsfield today and the sole saving grace was this find…the blackberries are starting to ripen! This small enclave of blackberries are always the best so now that I know that they are starting to ripen, we will be visiting Beaconsfield quite a lot 😉

This is the cloud cover we are getting today. It is hot, sticky and very opressive. It happens whenever there is a cyclone on the top end of Australia and they decide to share their humidity with us (how generous Queensland! ;) )

This is the cloud cover we are getting today. It is hot, sticky and very opressive. It happens whenever there is a cyclone on the top end of Australia and they decide to share their humidity with us (how generous Queensland! 😉 )

These are shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum...I know, hilarious isn't it and who says that horticulturalists have no sense of humour ;) ). They are very easy to grow and will grow in the most inhospitable conditions. We have a lot of them dotted around Serendipity Farm.

These are shasta daisies (Leucanthemum x superbum…I know, hilarious isn’t it and who says that horticulturalists have no sense of humour 😉 ). They are very easy to grow and will grow in the most inhospitable conditions. We have a lot of them dotted around Serendipity Farm.

I appear to have a gnome in Sanctuary. The grass that you can see growing here is about to get a haircut but it was too hot to do it today so you have to see it unkempt and feral (it's usual state ;) )

I appear to have a gnome in Sanctuary. The grass that you can see growing here is about to get a haircut but it was too hot to do it today so you have to see it unkempt and feral (it’s usual state 😉 ). I decided not to waste last years Christmas tree and am going to use it as an artistic plant stake.

I grew some trays of kale (2 kinds), cabbages and cauliflowers after looking at the back of the packet of seeds and seeing that they could be planted through summer here. They fibbed. Apparently they should be considered winter crops so I just left them outside the glasshouse and forgot about them. Some of them were still alive the other day so I took pity on the survivors and planted them out in the main garden.

I grew some trays of kale (2 kinds), cabbages and cauliflowers after looking at the back of the packet of seeds and seeing that they could be planted through summer here. They fibbed. Apparently they should be considered winter crops so I just left them outside the glasshouse and forgot about them. Some of them were still alive the other day so I took pity on the survivors and planted them out in the main garden.

One of my natural pest strategies and the top of the food chain in Sanctuary (if you don't count that big toad I rehoused in amongst the oak leaves). There are lizards everywhere inside the safety of Sanctuary and they, in turn are eating many of the pests that invade. We have a bit of a grasshopper plague at the moment but I am going to leave them to the lizards unless they build up numbers and then I will have to formulate an alternative plan...

One of my natural pest strategies and the top of the food chain in Sanctuary (if you don’t count that big toad I rehoused in amongst the oak leaves). There are lizards everywhere inside the safety of Sanctuary and they, in turn are eating many of the pests that invade. We have a bit of a grasshopper plague at the moment but I am going to leave them to the lizards unless they build up numbers and then I will have to formulate an alternative plan…

These are apparently "Egyptian brown beans". Forgive me but they look a whole lot like broad beans to me! ;)

These are apparently “Egyptian brown beans”. Forgive me but they look a whole lot like broad beans to me! 😉

Silverbeet growing well and pots of transplanted artichokes

Silverbeet growing well and pots of transplanted globe artichokes with the ever-present lurking lesser spotted tomato photo-bombing

Silverbeet going to seed and scarlet runner beans

Silverbeet going to seed and scarlet runner beans. The wooden pole is to stop the possums bouncing up and down to reach the green foliage

My lone tomatillo. I have others planted out in one of the new garden beds but this one has flowers and is making a statement. I have never grown tomatillos before so it will be interesting to see how they perform

My lone tomatillo. I have others planted out in one of the new garden beds but this one has flowers and is making a statement. I have never grown tomatillos before so it will be interesting to see how they perform. Every tomato in this garden bed was self seeded.

A compost bucket grown potato with one of the grasshoppers that should feed the lizards nicely for the next few weeks :)

A compost bucket grown potato with one of the grasshoppers that should feed the lizards nicely for the next few weeks 🙂

Our kafir lime tree. It will be feeling right at home with this sticky tropical weather!

Our kafir lime tree. It will be feeling right at home with this sticky tropical weather!

I only planted these beetroot seeds the other day. They must like the conditions. This is my first attempt at succession planting. Their brothers are big enough to eat now so I figured I would grow some more to stave off that "I wish I had planted more!" condition.

I only planted these beetroot seeds the other day. They must like the conditions. This is my first attempt at succession planting. Their brothers are big enough to eat now so I figured I would grow some more to stave off that “I wish I had planted more!” condition.

The Chaotic state of the garden beds in Sanctuary. I go by the CHAOS theory, you "chuck handfuls all over space". My ethos! I like to think that in all of the mass confusion, the pests are unable to decide what they will eat first and die of anorexia...I like to think that but I doubt that it is true ;)

The Chaotic state of the garden beds in Sanctuary. I go by the CHAOS theory, you “chuck handfuls all over space”. My ethos! I like to think that in all of the mass confusion, the pests are unable to decide what they will eat first and die of anorexia…I like to think that but I doubt that it is true 😉

One of the new garden beds with basil planted out. I don't like basil. Stevie-boy doesn't like basil...why did we plant it? Because our friend likes basil and gave us the seeds. I think it was a hint.

One of the new garden beds with basil planted out. I don’t like basil. Stevie-boy doesn’t like basil…why did we plant it? Because our friend likes basil and gave us the seeds. I think it was a hint.

This area was where the pumpkins grew from a pile of compost last year up at the rear of Sanctuary. It was a very dry, hot area and I was wondering what to plant there this year when some pumpkins sprouted and a couple of tomato plants so I took that as a statement of posession and left them to it. I added a large marigold to the mix and some Jerusalem artichokes as they will grow on a hot tin roof. So far, they all seem to be getting along famously...we shall see...

This area was where the pumpkins grew from a pile of compost last year up at the rear of Sanctuary. It was a very dry, hot area and I was wondering what to plant there this year when some pumpkins sprouted and a couple of tomato plants so I took that as a statement of posession and left them to it. I added a large marigold to the mix and some Jerusalem artichokes as they will grow on a hot tin roof. So far, they all seem to be getting along famously…we shall see…

We cut the grapes back to single leaders (as per instruction from a tutorial we found online) and they are going gangbusters now. Apparently we need to let them go mental this year to achieve their final height and we need to make sure that we pull off all of the fruiting bunches for the first 3 years to let the plant strengthen to get the best grapes. We have 7 of these muscat grape vines planted out together that we grew from cuttings so one day we will have plenty of grapes for eating and for turning into muscatel raisins :)

We cut the grapes back to single leaders (as per instruction from a tutorial we found online) and they are going gangbusters now. Apparently we need to let them go mental this year to achieve their final height and we need to make sure that we pull off all of the fruiting bunches for the first 3 years to let the plant strengthen to get the best grapes. We have 7 of these muscat grape vines planted out together that we grew from cuttings so one day we will have plenty of grapes for eating and for turning into muscatel raisins 🙂

These are sweet potato leaves. Apparently they are just about to go ballistic and I am going to have to keep them in check with the whipper snipper but I don't care because the leaves are edible and so narf will be tucking into both ends of the prolific sweet potato with gleeful abandon :)

These are sweet potato leaves. Apparently they are just about to go ballistic and I am going to have to keep them in check with the whipper snipper but I don’t care because the leaves are edible and so narf will be tucking into both ends of the prolific sweet potato with gleeful abandon 🙂

Last Wednesday they were stalks, this Wednesday they are leafy and next week they will probably be about half a metre tall and covered with leaves. Spuds don't muck around!

Last Wednesday they were stalks, this Wednesday they are leafy and next week they will probably be about half a metre tall and covered with leaves. Spuds don’t muck around!

More pumpkins and my cucamelon (also called "Mouse melons") babies in their weld-mesh tube

More pumpkins and my cucamelon (also called “Mouse melons”) babies in their weld-mesh tube

This garden bed has eggplants, basil, tiny tim tomatoes, tomatillos and chillies in it. They were languishing in the glasshouse and I had nowhere to plant them but now I do so in they went! I have put silverbeet, perennial spinach and some other seeds that I have NO idea what they are (and the beetroots) in here as well. I found the seed packets where I had forgotten them a while ago and the snails had eaten the outer packets. I could recognise the spinach but the others are mystery seeds. Here's to interesting gardens! ;)

This garden bed has eggplants, basil, tiny tim tomatoes, tomatillos and chillies in it. They were languishing in the glasshouse and I had nowhere to plant them but now I do so in they went! I have put silverbeet, perennial spinach and some other seeds that I have NO idea what they are (and the beetroots) in here as well. I found the seed packets where I had forgotten them a while ago and the snails had eaten the outer packets. I could recognise the spinach but the others are mystery seeds. Here’s to interesting gardens! 😉

One of my experimental compost beds. I dumped buckets of compost into these areas and covered them with aged horse manure and oak leaves and have some interesting things growing out of the mix but mostly potatoes and pumpkins.

One of my experimental compost beds. I dumped buckets of compost into these areas and covered them with aged horse manure and oak leaves and have some interesting things growing out of the mix but mostly potatoes and pumpkins.

Leeks and carrots that went to seed. I plan on collecting the seed when they get around to ripening

Leeks and carrots that went to seed. I plan on collecting the seed when they get around to ripening

I don't think I will plant zucchini's next year. I either end up with blossom end rot or with so many zucchini's I can't even think straight. I might go with pattypan squash next year.

I don’t think I will plant zucchini’s next year. I either end up with blossom end rot or with so many zucchini’s I can’t even think straight. I might go with pattypan squash next year.

More pumpkins... can you tell I love them? ;) All of these pumpkins grew from compost bins. I didn't plant a single pumpkin this year.

More pumpkins… can you tell I love them? 😉 All of these pumpkins grew from compost bins. I didn’t plant a single pumpkin this year.

These look like "plums" to me, but they could also be sloes. I threw all of my old fruit seeds that I collected into the compost heaps and am digging out anything that resembles fruit as it pops up.

These look like “plums” to me, but they could also be sloes. I threw all of my old fruit seeds that I collected into the compost heaps and am digging out anything that resembles fruit as it pops up. Don’t you love our rustic glasshouse floor? 😉

 

 

My turmeric are up again and I NEED to get a garden bed dug for both them and the cardamom that is threatening to give up the ghost if I don't plant them out.

My turmeric are up again and I NEED to get a garden bed dug for both them and the cardamom that is threatening to give up the ghost if I don’t plant them out.

This year we plant out all of our combined nut trees that we have been growing on for a few years now. Most of these are walnuts but there is an avocado in the mix as well.

This year we plant out all of our combined nut trees that we have been growing on for a few years now. Most of these are walnuts but there is an avocado in the mix as well.

This is a cutting grown myer lemon that I am just about to plant out

This is a cutting grown myer lemon that I am just about to plant out

 

Baby indigo seedlings (Indigofera tinctoria) for future dyeing "events" on Serendipity Farm

Baby indigo seedlings (Indigofera tinctoria) for future dyeing “events” on Serendipity Farm

Baby Moringa trees (moringa oleifera) that have the awesome reputation of every single part of them being useful. When they first sprout they look like blades of grass and I almost pulled the biggest one out!

Baby Moringa trees (moringa oleifera) that have the awesome reputation of every single part of them being useful. When they first sprout they look like blades of grass and I almost pulled the biggest one out!

We still have raspberries ripening inside Sanctuary

We still have raspberries ripening inside Sanctuary

Blackberries ripening...

Blackberries ripening…

Inside Sanctuary..."EEK!"

Inside Sanctuary…”EEK!”

Earl protected baby figs

Earl protected baby figs

Earl protected nectarines!

Earl protected nectarines!

But wait...there's MORE! Earl has done an amazing job of teaching the possums who is boss inside his new compound and patrols all hours of the day and night so that the possums don't get comfortable with "routine" ;)

But wait…there’s MORE! Earl has done an amazing job of teaching the possums who is boss inside his new compound and patrols all hours of the day and night so that the possums don’t get comfortable with “routine” 😉

The very first fig(let) to ripen on Serendipity Farm :)

The very first fig(let) to ripen on Serendipity Farm 🙂

Blueberries! :)

Blueberries! 🙂

This is a piece of snapped off blueberry "stick" that I shoved into the ground when it was snapped off while we were covering the blueberries and it has struck! A new baby blueberry in Sanctuary :)

This is a piece of snapped off blueberry “stick” that I shoved into the ground when it was snapped off while we were covering the blueberries and it has struck! A new baby blueberry in Sanctuary 🙂

Steve had me splashing this water under instruction the other day "No...don't splash there, splash in the middle, but splash "quickly" and make a wave..." (sigh...)

Steve had me splashing this water under instruction the other day “No…don’t splash there, splash in the middle, but splash “quickly” and make a wave…” (sigh…). This is one of the birdbaths on Serendipity Farm. The wasps were a bit upset at having to wait for Steve’s artistic creativity to wane before they could get another drink 😉

I managed to get some fresh macadamia nuts. In order to get the best chance of germination, they need to be under 3 months old so I soaked them overnight and have 12 macadamia nuts potted up. I love adding new possibilities to Serendipity Farm :)

I managed to get some fresh macadamia nuts. In order to get the best chance of germination, they need to be under 3 months old so I soaked them overnight and have 12 macadamia nuts potted up. I love adding new possibilities to Serendipity Farm 🙂

Steve playing the mouth organ for the dogs to howl to...we have our telly, they get to howl. It's a fair swap ;)

Steve playing the mouth organ for the dogs to howl to…we have our telly, they get to howl. It’s a fair swap 😉

These are 2 bowls of porridge for the next few days. This mornings breakfast consisted of ground up millet, brown rice, sesame seeds, chickpeas, green and yellow split peas, lentils and barley with coconut and dates. It tasted a whole lot better than you would think ;)

These are 2 bowls of porridge for the next few days. This mornings breakfast consisted of ground up millet, brown rice, sesame seeds, chickpeas, green and yellow split peas, lentils and barley with coconut and dates. It tasted a whole lot better than you would think 😉

Here are what's left of our potted babies. Can you spot the intruder in the midst? ;)

Here are what’s left of our potted babies. Can you spot the intruder in the midst? 😉

The view of sodden Serendipity Farm this morning. Note the debris on the driveway

The view of sodden Serendipity Farm this morning. Note the debris on the driveway

A sodden (as opposed to "sodding") rooster on the lawn

A sodden (as opposed to “sodding”) rooster on the lawn

Steve wants me to show you the metal shovel that he bought for me the other day. It cost him $4.95 and is completely made of welded metal. Is there anyone else out there wondering how on EARTH you could make a shovel from go to whoa for $4.95?! Steve says that this proves that he loves me. When you buy your wife a shovel, that's true love ;)

Steve wants me to show you the metal shovel that he bought for me the other day. It cost him $4.95 and is completely made of welded metal. Is there anyone else out there wondering how on EARTH you could make a shovel from go to whoa for $4.95?! Steve says that this proves that he loves me. Anyone can suck up to their wife with flowers or chocolates but when you are comfortable enough to buy your wife a shovel, that’s true love 😉

Well, as Bug’s Bunny would say…”That’s all folks!”

 

Past, present and future

Hi All,

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

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

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

Bezials idea of the very best Christmas

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

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

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

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

Stevie-boy contemplating the consequences of his actions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Towards the back of the tram

Towards the back of the tram

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parsley futures

Parsley futures

Cherimoya futures (so far 3 of them : ) )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of Steve's bonsai babies given the Nikon treatment

Some of Steve’s bonsai babies given the Nikon treatment

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

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

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

Calander 2015

So this is Christmas…well, Christmas Eve

Hi All,

Every radio station this side of Cooee (a real place that has a population of 574 AND is in Northern Tasmania 😉 )  are playing Christmas songs on repeat and most of those repeat cycles contain at least one John Lennon “So this is Christmas”. More an admonition of our communal lack of effort than a Christmas song (cheers 7LAFM!) but still considered Christmassy. I know that many of you don’t feel very Christmassy in the least. I know that for many people, Christmas is just an excuse to have a few days off, drink some seriously expensive booze and quaff their weights worth of expensive and rich food. I know that people spending Christmas alone or in difficult circumstances might be feeling considerably left out and today, in my little Christmas Eve sermon (for verily have I been given the task of cheering you all up and so sayeth the Lord! 😉 ) I wanted to remind you all that you are all part of an amazing online group of friends, some of whom become online family. Whether you feel included, excluded, excited, underwhelmed, overwhelmed, blissed out or knackered out Christmas is a good time to take stock of where we have been, what we have done and to hitch up our belts and think about where we are going for next year. Seriously though, you would think that they would leave a bit more than a week between Christmas and New Year to get all of that sorted out, especially as we have all been flat out like the proverbial lizard drinking getting Christmas sorted out and all need several nana naps in order to get over it so poor old New Years is a bit of an afterthought…

Another year, another tangle of lights...

Another year, another tangle of lights…

Look what I found at Hollybank. A bank full of holly berries. Not so special you might say but red holly berries in the middle of summer? I call that a Christmas miracle ;)

Look what I found at Hollybank. A bank full of holly berries. Not so special you might say but red holly berries in the middle of summer? I call that a Christmas miracle 😉

I used a willow wreath that I made from harvested canes last year and turned it into a holly wreath :)

I used a willow wreath that I made from harvested canes last year and turned it into a holly wreath 🙂

Then I hung it on the back door...where I realised that it looks like a set of shark jaws...er...

Then I hung it on the back door…where I realised that it looks like a set of shark jaws…er…

I made this doll for a very good friends little girl who apparently loves it.

I made this doll for a very good friends little girl who apparently loves it. She is 50cm tall and her tail comes off to reveal…

A most fetching bikini :). Still haven't learned how to make attractive mouths. Anyone reading this who can help guide me in the right direction please feel free to comment :)

A most fetching bikini :). Still haven’t learned how to make attractive mouths. Anyone reading this who can help guide me in the right direction please feel free to comment 🙂

Still, whether we are ready for it or not, it comes. I am particularly blessed to have been allowed to exist on this small blue revolving planet out in the middle of space for more than half a century. I feel incredibly in awe that for some reason I have managed to enjoy most of my life. I might not be “living the dream” but I am living MY dream which I think is more important. I just want to remind you all that no matter who you are, or what your circumstances are, there is always some poor sod out there who is worse off than us/you and that we have so much to be thankful for, right here and right now. And you can just about shut up John Lennon with your admonitions, we internet mates look out for each other and we do care. Another year older? Cheers John, but you know what? That’s another chance at another year and I am sure that our elderly 92 year old neighbour Glad is counting and enjoying every single day of it.

All the Christmas day food prep is now done. The flowery icecubes for the boozy punch are frozen...

All the Christmas day food prep is now done. The flowery icecubes for the boozy punch are frozen…

The strawberries for Stevie-boys homemade strawberries and cream icecream and for the punch purchased from just over the river (can't get much more local than that...)

The strawberries for Stevie-boys homemade strawberries and cream icecream and for the punch purchased from just over the river (can’t get much more local than that…)

8kg of cherries bought for $2 a kilo and most of them have disappeared never to be seen again ;)

8kg of cherries bought for $2 a kilo and most of them have disappeared never to be seen again 😉

The cherries came from a cherry farm over the river right next to the strawberry farm. We are so lucky to live where we live

The cherries came from a cherry farm over the river right next to the strawberry farm. We are so lucky to live where we live

Talking about Glad, she is just about to receive a large Stevie-boy original pork pie to tuck away (hide) in her fridge for after she gets trotted around to all of her family members tomorrow and she can return home, put her feet up and do what SHE wants. So much of the festivities revolving around Christmas involve trotting off to visit people that you may or may not really want to deal with. I guess it’s a good reminder that we have to sometimes suck it up for the greater good. I will note that Christmas is one of the worst times for family arguments to get started so watch out for those family members that are most antagonistic towards each other and add lots of water to their booze (at least while they are at your house, they can behave! 😉 )

Steve had 10 spare minutes and a hankering to use his nail gun so he knocked up this bench out of a slab of pine a friend had given him and a strut of ash. The dogs approve

Steve had 10 spare minutes and a hankering to use his nail gun so he knocked up this bench out of a slab of pine a friend had given him and a strut of ash. The dogs approve

The dogs are very confused about all of the activity around here... the baking has them particularly suspicious

The dogs are very confused about all of the activity around here… the baking has them particularly suspicious

This is the end result of churning together 2 cans of coconut cream, 1 cup of raw sugar and some vanilla and it's absolutely delicious. The best vegan ice cream I have ever made and I can't wait to experiment with this recipe to make all kinds of variations

This is the end result of churning together 2 cans of coconut cream, 1 cup of raw sugar and some vanilla and it’s absolutely delicious. The best vegan ice cream I have ever made and I can’t wait to experiment with this recipe to make all kinds of variations

Coconut ice cream motion blur! ;)

Coconut ice cream motion blur! 😉

We make pork pies every year for Steve and for our neighbour Glad who is 92 and her daughter Wendy who are both expats from the U.K. Christmas just isn't Christmas without pork pies apparently. They can live without the snow and the hot Christmas dinner but Christmas without pork pies? Sacrilege!

We make pork pies every year for Steve and for our neighbour Glad who is 92 and her daughter Wendy who are both expats from the U.K. Christmas just isn’t Christmas without pork pies apparently. They can live without the snow and the hot Christmas dinner but Christmas without pork pies? Sacrilege!

A gorgeous homemade Christmas pudding that Glad gave us this year from her secret recipe :)

A gorgeous homemade Christmas pudding that Glad gave us this year from her secret recipe 🙂

Spooning the heady rum syrup over the rum baba

Spooning the heady rum syrup over the rum baba

Stevie-boy and I are able to spend Christmas Day tomorrow here on Serendipity Farm that has been newly shorn and that looks adorable despite Steve doing some serious damage to the whipper snipper that requires a lot of internet trawling to find new parts. That’s for the New Year though so I am counting my blessings that we managed to get most of the whipper snipping done and make Serendipity Farm look pretty. We will be sitting out on the deck having a most leisurely Christmas thanks to lots of organisation (Steve and I specialise at being organised) prior to the day. Everything has been made except for the homemade mascarpone cheese that I am attempting to make this year. A tiny container of the unctuous stuff costs 4 arms and half a leg so this year, narf is going to make her own AND copious quantities of it if the recipe serves me right.

I received this absolutely lovely bunting from a lovely fellow blogger called mommermom. Isn't it gorgeous and aren't I a lucky narf? I never cease to be amazed at how lovely people who don't even know you can be :)

I received this absolutely lovely bunting from a lovely fellow blogger called mommermom. Isn’t it gorgeous and aren’t I a lucky narf? I never cease to be amazed at how lovely people who don’t even know you can be 🙂

Stevie-boy got a new 50mm lens from the girls for Christmas (early) and has been using it to take some most lovely photos of things around the garden...

Stevie-boy got a new 50mm lens from the girls for Christmas (early) and has been using it to take some most lovely photos of things around the garden…

Remember my red clover from last year? Well this is "son of red clover" ;)

Remember my red clover from last year? Well this is “son of red clover” 😉

Pretty and most hardy climbing geraniums

Pretty and most hardy climbing geraniums

A lovely mass display of climbing roses

A lovely mass display of climbing roses

This glorious buddleia flower

This glorious buddleia flower

This one is especially for you Linne :)

This one is especially for you Linne 🙂

Natural pest prevention

Natural pest prevention

And an arty shot of our newly installed and decorated Christmas tree avec lights :)

And an arty shot of our newly installed and decorated Christmas tree avec lights 🙂

I made a rum baba yesterday. It’s a heady mix of buttery brioche soaked in enough rum syrup to satiate a crew of pirates. We cooked Steve’s choice of a very large chook and a roll of pork (sorry vegan mates but sometimes we mixed couples have to compromise), Steve’s famous pork pies that he is going to share with friends and neighbours, coconut ice cream for me (that tastes AMAZING) and strawberries and cream ice cream for Steve that also tastes amazing but his uses cream and eggs and mine just uses cans of coconut cream, a bit of sugar and some vanilla. I froze some flowers in an ice cube tray for prettying up our boozy Christmas punch and have been freezing home grown berries to add as they ripen. My blueberry bushes are covered in blueberry futures but they aren’t quite ready yet. We picked up 8kg of “jam” cherries the other day for $2 a kilo and after picking out the damaged cherries (and cutting out the damage and pureeing and freezing them) we were left with almost 5kg of perfectly good cherries that have been slowly scoffed by yours truly over the past few days. I am claiming to be eating them all to lose weight…SHHH don’t tell Stevie-boy that I am eating them because they are delicious!

We went to Hollybank recently as a special treat for the dogs. I was warning them not to shake as they were both sopping wet after an impromptu swim...

We went to Hollybank recently as a special treat for the dogs. I was warning them not to shake as they were both sopping wet after an impromptu swim…

I think this is supposed to be a bull but both Steve and I thought "KRAMPUS"! As soon as we saw it so it is officially the wooden Krampus from now on

I think this is supposed to be a bull but both Steve and I thought “KRAMPUS”! As soon as we saw it so it is officially the wooden Krampus from now on

A woman can't even take a photo without someone else photographing her! ;)

A woman can’t even take a photo without someone else photographing her! 😉

Earl found the small plastic rum bottle (empty) used to make the rum syrup for the rum baba...

Earl found the small plastic rum bottle (empty) used to make the rum syrup for the rum baba…

A lovely shot that Steve took of Bezial

A lovely shot that Steve took of Bezial

And an equally lovely shot of Earl :)

And an equally lovely shot of Earl 🙂

The tree is up, the decorations made, the front gate is adorned and the big balls of great happiness are back up after languishing on the ground next to the front gate for almost a year. One of them was full of water and when we hung them up and were decorating the gate we were subject to a slow trickle of water sprinkling down on us. I think that the Christmassy feelings come from the preparations and the processes that are involved with making Christmas yours. It’s my theory but I have found that whenever we throw ourselves into making everything for Christmas, we have a sort of timeline in our mind that sets off a chain of Christmassy feelings. We have cinnamon salt dough ornaments scenting our house. We made them last week. We have Earl reminding us of the joys of Christmas for the young and reminding us of how we have to be careful NOT to put anything under the tree till tonight as he has already removed and almost unwrapped one gift (fool us once bucko!) and we found him with the small plastic rum bottle that we used to make the rum baba chewing happily on the lid…sigh…kids!

Moody Christmas chook and pork roll

Moody Christmas chook and pork roll

Raining and it is just about Christmas...

Raining and it is just about Christmas…

Lucky really as yesterday we had to light Brunhilda to cook all of the christmas fare.

Lucky really as yesterday we had to light Brunhilda to cook all of the Christmas fare.

Aren't these lovely? I got them from that most sterling and gorgeous of bloggers Ms teddyandtottie. She was so gorgeous that she couldn't work out who of her dear constant readers to give a prize to so she gave us all one! HUGE hugs Ms teddietottie, don't they look lovely? :)

Aren’t these lovely? I got them from that most sterling and gorgeous of bloggers Ms teddyandtottie. She was so gorgeous that she couldn’t work out who of her dear constant readers to give a prize to so she gave us all one! HUGE hugs Ms teddietottie, don’t they look lovely? 🙂

We have been busy for the last week whipper snipping the grass down and tidying up. Serendipity  Farm now looks like a park. We have to watch out for campers and picnickers ;)

We have been busy for the last week whipper snipping the grass down and tidying up. Serendipity Farm now looks like a park. We have to watch out for campers and picnickers 😉

I guess I really shouldn’t tax you too much with this post. I just really wanted to give you all a great big narfy cyber hug and let you all know how much I truly appreciate you and your decision to tag along each week to visit us down here in farthest flung Tasmania on Serendipity Farm, home to reprobates and the abnormal. Stevie-boy and I might be serious hermits who adore our own little space but knowing that there are good friends out there in “the rest of the world” is an amazing thing. Here’s to a wonderful time over the next few weeks. No matter who you are, what you celebrate, IF you celebrate, I hope that this week and the lead up to our brand spanking new year is a great one. I hope that 2015 dawns on us and gives us an incredible opportunity to live, to learn and to grow and that we are all able to be here to collect our thoughts come Christmas 2015. HUGE hugs to you all and see you New Year’s Eve 🙂

Happy Stevie-boy with a wonderful set of earrings that Ms rabbidlittlehippy sent to him for Christmas. He loves them!

Happy Stevie-boy with a wonderful set of earrings that Ms rabbidlittlehippy sent to him for Christmas. He loves them!

Merry Christmas to you all and we will raise a glass of Christmas cheer to all of you tomorrow :)

Merry Christmas to you all and we will raise a glass of Christmas cheer to all of you tomorrow 🙂

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 🙂

Wednesday wanderer

Hi All,

Guess who was spoiled last Friday night and who got ferried in style into the city to go and see my favourite comedian Mr Bill Bailey? “ME!” that’s who :). Stewart and Kelsey bought me tickets way back when it was my birthday for last Friday’s concert and the big day finally arrived. We had a lovely Japanese meal and wandered around the city for a while till it was time to head over to the theatre and be seated. We were very close to the front and the concert, although it was the very last one in this current tour, was hilarious and thought provoking in a most musically intelligent way. As one of Mr Baileys very closest friends on Facebook (along with about 130 000 others…) he shared some photos of his exploration of our little state of Tasmania over the weekend and it looks like he had a really excellent and enjoyable stay before jetting back home to old Blighty where the temperatures will no doubt be several degrees colder than when he headed off at the start of his tour. Thank you Mr Bailey, your thoughtful, clever and most insightful humour always broadsides me and I am in your debt and Stewart and Kelsey’s, for allowing me to sit in on a couple of hours of pure magic genius.

I really liked this meme when I saw it recently and decided to share it with you all. Douglas Adams insights 101

I really liked this meme when I saw it recently and decided to share it with you all. Douglas Adams insights 101

The guttering shamed us this week...

The guttering shamed us this week…

Stevie-boy helping Kym (hopefully) to find a way to put an image header in her blog

Stevie-boy helping Kym (hopefully) to find a way to put an image header in her blog

Stevie-boy and I have been working like Trojans in order to get as much as we can done around here before the temperatures start to soar and no-one wants to set foot outside. We planted out our new little kefir lime tree which will provide us with fragrant and most authentic delicious Asian flavours in our curries and stir fries for many years to come. I am looking into buying some lemongrass seed if I can’t source some lemongrass locally as I think it would do well here on Serendipity Farm. We also planted out two thornless youngberries and a thornless loganberry that we picked up at Bunnings (Australia’s answer to hardware heaven) and they are now safely ensconced in the ground with trellises constructed of star pickets and plastic coated wire clothes line that we had left over from our fencing job.

2 pots of thornless youngberries, a pot of thornless loganberries and a kaffir lime tree to be planted out

2 pots of thornless youngberries, a pot of thornless loganberries and a kaffir lime tree to be planted out

Everything is growing well in the ideal growing conditions that Sanctuary has thanks to all of that netting that acts as shade cloth

Everything is growing well in the ideal growing conditions that Sanctuary has thanks to all of that netting that acts as shade cloth

Earl was allowed to visit Sanctuary as he has been extra especially good lately

Earl was allowed to visit Sanctuary as he has been extra especially good lately

Earl, still being extra especially good. He was so good he got to walk down to the driveway from the house off leash!

Earl, still being extra especially good. He was so good he got to walk down to the driveway from the house off leash!

We then hammered an old blue pipeline bunk bed base in between two of the garden beds to act as a climbing frame for our adventurous scarlet runner beans that are growing for their third year in a row. This year they will be able to grow vertically and should do better than the previous two years where they had to scrabble along the ground, up the odd pole and contend with being choked out by pumpkins. Steve removed the last of the logs that were in the way of the car and trailer being driven up to the shed that backs onto Sanctuary where we shamelessly hoard all kinds of wood, star pickets and “stuff” that could possibly be used in the garden. You could be forgiven for thinking that we were hillbillies just by taking a surreptitious glance into this shed. The mess is going to be short lived though as we have plans to turn this shed into a potting shed and storage shed in association with Sanctuary where we can store tools etc. to free up Stevie-boys shed.

The big white water container has made it up to the shed next to Sanctuary! That's one step closer to being installed. Note the state of the (hoarding) shed ;)

The big white water container has made it up to the shed next to Sanctuary! That’s one step closer to being installed. Note the state of the (hoarding) shed 😉

The boysenberries trellis and some of the grass we "imported" into Sanctuary. May as well do double duty till we turn it into another compost heap

The boysenberries trellis and some of the grass we “imported” into Sanctuary. May as well do double duty till we turn it into another compost heap

One side of the young-berry trellis with one of the young-berries planted out

One side of the young-berry trellis with one of the young-berries planted out

Talking about Stevie-boys shed, we cleaned it out…not just a rudimentary clean, a real proper one that involved hauling out bags and boxes and going through everything and seeing if it still had any place on Serendipity Farm. A few hours later and Stevie-boy has a whole lot more room in his shed and a whole lot less garbage.

 

"The heap" of grass clippings futures, thanks to Glad and Wendy next door :)

“The heap” of grass clippings futures, thanks to Glad and Wendy next door 🙂

One happy scarlet runner with something to hang onto this year. Fingers crossed for a good bean harvest :)

One happy scarlet runner with something to hang onto this year. Fingers crossed for a good bean harvest 🙂

The little kaffir lime in it's new forever home

The little kaffir lime in it’s new forever home

Some ornamental grape cuttings that fell off a shed that we were passing the other day on our morning dog walk...

Some ornamental grape cuttings that fell off a shed that we were passing the other day on our morning dog walk…

On the left is a thornless blackberry cutting that has been studiously examined for thorns before it got potted up and on the right are some thorny young-berries that if they grow are going to grace the fence to teach the possums a lesson ;)

On the left is a thornless blackberry cutting that has been studiously examined for thorns before it got potted up and on the right are some thorny young-berries that if they grow are going to grace the fence to teach the possums a lesson 😉

 

We drove the large trailer load of grass clippings that Glad wanted us to take from her back block and dumped it inside Sanctuary where it is going to be wheelbarrowed up to join a whole lot of trailer loads of oak leaves and manure and anything else we can get to throw into the mix. We started to think about how difficult it was going to be to wheelbarrow heavy manure and damp oak leaves up the steep incline in Sanctuary and Stevie-boy had a moment of pure genius and decided that we were going to forge a path past the side of Sanctuary and up to the rear of the garden in order to wheelbarrow the manure and oak leaves down into Sanctuary rather than uphill. I like that idea!

I forgot to take "before" photos but this is after we whipper snipped the first part of the new driveway for the car to deliver us to the rear of Sanctuary..."SQUEE!" :)

I forgot to take “before” photos but this is after we whipper snipped the first part of the new driveway for the car to deliver us to the rear of Sanctuary…”SQUEE!” 🙂

Stevie-boy giving you a bit of perspective as to how wide Sanctuary is and how little room we have between Sanctuary and that tree that fell down

Stevie-boy giving you a bit of perspective as to how wide Sanctuary is and how little room we have between Sanctuary and that tree that fell down

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary :)

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary 🙂

I say “Pure genius” but now that we have done it I have renamed it “Pure madness”. We took our whipper snippers and we headed up. Stevie-boy also took one of his chainsaws with an old chain and an old bar because he was going to commit a cardinal sin…he was going to hack away at the base of some old tree stumps that had been left in the ground and that were in the way. 2 hours later and a whole lot of hacking, sawing, (swearing), and stubborn pigheadedness, we managed between us to hammer and block split the rocks and stumps that were in the way and level out a big dip that may have been our undoing. Thank goodness that we had the foresight to buy a little 4 x 4 when we had the chance. There is no WAY that we could have lived out here without her.

This was once 3 large tree stumps and a pile of large rocks that Stevie-boy and I refused to submit to! Never let the fact that you are middle aged stop you...stubborn angst will take you a whole lot of a distance when common sense would tell you to stop ;)

This was once 3 large tree stumps and a pile of large rocks that Stevie-boy and I refused to submit to! Never let the fact that you are middle aged stop you…stubborn angst will take you a whole lot of a distance when common sense would tell you to stop 😉

The little orange and black thing in the background is an old ride on lawnmower we inherited along with Serendipity Farm. Note the size of the fallen tree and the hole in the ground that we filled with rocks that we levered out from among the tree stumps

The little orange and black thing in the background is an old ride on lawnmower we inherited along with Serendipity Farm. Note the size of the fallen tree and the hole in the ground that we filled with rocks that we levered out from among the tree stumps

Stevie-boy standing at the gate between the back block and the middle block and wondering whether we could call The Examiner and say this was a crop circle... ;)

Stevie-boy standing at the gate between the back block and the middle block and wondering whether we could call The Examiner and say this was a crop circle… 😉

Looking back towards Glad's place next door. That blue tarp is covering some more oak leaves that need to be moved into Sanctuary when we make a way in

Looking back towards Glad’s place next door. That blue tarp is covering some more oak leaves that need to be moved into Sanctuary when we make a way in

This is how tenacious Jerusalem artichokes are. I planted a few in here last year and thought that I had dug them all up (and replanted them inside Sanctuary) but obviously I missed a few! The start of what is going to be many stands of Jerusalem artichokes all over Serendipity Farm :)

This is how tenacious Jerusalem artichokes are. I planted a few in here last year and thought that I had dug them all up (and replanted them inside Sanctuary) but obviously I missed a few! The start of what is going to be many stands of Jerusalem artichokes all over Serendipity Farm 🙂

Stevie-boy (skiving off) inspecting the back netting of Sanctuary to work out where to put a nice new entry point

Stevie-boy (skiving off) inspecting the back netting of Sanctuary to work out where to put a nice new entry point

More perspective to show how steep our block is

More perspective to show how steep our block is

So we were hacking and twitching and stubbornly refusing to give in when suddenly we realised that we had done enough to get the car over…”SQUEE!” We made a swift exit back to the house to hurl the dogs into the car and we tentatively headed up to test out our new drive through. It worked! Aside from a bit of scraping up the side of the car (to join all of the other scraping up the side of the car…) from some branches of the tree that fell down in the last lot of storms and that we just haven’t gotten around to cutting up yet, our driveway worked amazingly well and Steve not only drove up, but he turned around and then drove back down again.

I planted these "brown Egyptian beans" and they look suspiciously like broad beans to me! ;)

I planted these “brown Egyptian beans” and they look suspiciously like broad beans to me! 😉

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

I was so happy to see this, another red clover as my old one that I dug up from the roadside got smothered by the pumpkins last year :)

I was so happy to see this, another red clover as my old one that I dug up from the roadside got smothered by the pumpkins last year 🙂

These nasturtiums are specifically for Linne who loves them. I saved these from the furious whipper snipper of Stevie-boy so that you can see them in my future blog posts Linne :)

These nasturtiums are specifically for Linne who loves them. I saved these from the furious whipper snipper of Stevie-boy so that you can see them in my future blog posts Linne 🙂

We had to drive to Exeter to pick up some tap fittings so that we can transfer a tap from the fence (don’t ask) over to Sanctuary where I can use it to set up an irrigation system and to be used with a hose for hand watering. While we were there we took advantage of the warm day, the fact that we had worked very hard and the desire that had just flooded Stevie-boy to pick up a couple of bottles of ice cold beer. Ice cold beer has never tasted so good as when you drink it after you work hard and you are hot and tired. We were still hot and tired when we got home courtesy of our two furry tanks who managed to give us dog eyes and wangle an extra walk out of us.

Walking down from the rear of Sanctuary and past the garden I can't help but notice how many roses have managed to grow this year thanks to the close proximity of Earl in their immediate vicinity. He is officially a hero of the roses :)

Walking down from the rear of Sanctuary and past the garden I can’t help but notice how many roses have managed to grow this year thanks to the close proximity of Earl in their immediate vicinity. He is officially a hero of the roses 🙂

This time last year this rose was a series of sticks with no leaves. This year it is lovely. Cheers Earl :)

This time last year this rose was a series of sticks with no leaves. This year it is lovely. Cheers Earl 🙂

"Peek-a-boo Foxglove!"

“Peek-a-boo Foxglove!”

The side garden is no longer predated by wallabies on their way through as they are scared of being so close to Earl the avenger and refuse to go near the fence. Earl is earning himself a medal :)

The side garden is no longer predated by wallabies on their way through as they are scared of being so close to Earl the avenger and refuse to go near the fence. Earl is earning himself a medal 🙂

More roses and this stand of orange crocosmia has never looked this lush. Usually it has been scoffed back down to nubs but citizen Earl is on the case "Now wullibeez weel eed mai plandz!" however there is nothing that he can do to stop the chooks from nesting in the middle of it (I found their nest ;) )

More roses and this stand of orange crocosmia has never looked this lush. Usually it has been scoffed back down to nubs but citizen Earl is on the case “Now wullibeez weel eed mai plandz!” however there is nothing that he can do to stop the chooks from nesting in the middle of it (I found their nest 😉 )

And so here we are…I am still working feverishly on my Christmas gift for my eldest daughter Madeline. I have less than a month to get it finished but I am quite sure it is possible. It has been hard work and I have had to completely learn how to do something from scratch so if you are reading this Madeline, I really REALLY hope you appreciate my efforts and even if what I produce might be a little wonky, or a little “rustic” I am hoping that you are able to keep your laughter in check just long enough till we head off in the car ;). I won’t even talk about Stevie-boys effort that is AMAZING and that is sure to garner him the $50 prize booze voucher for what he has created for our youngest daughter Bethany. You can all be sure that I will share lots of photos of what we made in my December 17th blog post (we are giving the gifts on the 14th).

A pot of mint and bergamot that I pulled some out of when I found them growing in a pathway. They appear to like living in a pot in Sanctuary better than living on a pathway :)

A pot of mint and bee balm that I pulled some out of when I found them growing in a pathway. They appear to like living in a pot in Sanctuary better than living on a pathway 🙂

Isn't this lovely? I never even knew this rose existed but it is now inside the safety zone of Earl's kingdom and is saying thank you in the most beautiful way (hopefully Earl doesn't pee on it! ;) )

Isn’t this lovely? I never even knew this rose existed but it is now inside the safety zone of Earl’s kingdom and is saying thank you in the most beautiful way (hopefully Earl doesn’t pee on it! 😉 )

Stevie-boy gets beer, I get juice a perfect way to finish a long hard day :)

Stevie-boy gets beer, I get juice a perfect way to finish a long hard day 🙂

I might just finish there for this week folks. My fingers are a bit sore from “flummoxing” the heck out of some serious stumps and hurling rocks into a gaping cavernous hole, the result of the tree falling over and inconsiderately taking its roots with it. I think I might just head out onto the deck with a nice mug of tea in my nice new mug courtesy of one of my lovely blogging friends who knows what makes a narf tick :). Have a fantastic week everyone. Some of you are almost up to your armpits in snow, some of you are living the life in tropical climes and some of you are wondering just how fast weeds can grow and why we can never seem to keep up with them here in the Southern hemisphere in our rapidly receding spring. Whatever you are doing and wherever you are have a magic week 🙂

My wonderful, splendorous, spanky new great big mug that is officially my new mug of choice :)

My wonderful, splendorous, spanky new great big mug that is officially my new mug of choice 🙂

 

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