Antisocial narf

Hi All,

You may have noticed, if you are a regular visitor to The Road to Serendipity, that my last few posts have been a lot more image intensive than wordy. My usual mantra is to wordbomb the heck out of you all but lately the words are a whole lot more sparse. In saying that, there are still more words in the image captions than most people put in an average post but whatchagonnadoeh?

In homage to remembrance...

In homage to remembrance…

Narf is on strike. Yes, not my muses, who are busting at the bit to get out there and garbling, just narf, the mouthpiece who has decided that words are not going to be predominate in her mantra for a little while. I think I caught spring fever folks. I think I suddenly felt extremely overwhelmed by everything that was going on in the world, in my life in the peripherals of “everything” and decided to hunker down and go back to basics and get off the PC and out into the garden where dirt (yes DIRT you “soil” purists! 😉 ) was everpresent and rapidly turning to dry dust.

Breakfast for 2

Breakfast for 2

Well, a cuppa each and a bowl of brown rice porridge for moi

Well, a cuppa each and a bowl of brown rice porridge for moi

There is SO much to do out there. Stevie-boy was able to get a bit of gainful employment last year and that left me working double time researching for two and hurling myself into studies where we would both usually be out in the garden for a good part of the week. There was no time to tame the blackberries that now think they rule the roost at Serendipity Farm in the jungle at the front of our house and I am ever reminded of their twisty and thorny grasp whenever I sit on the deck in the morning contemplating the river and my navel with a big mug of tea. I am itching to get down and into them and teach them a narfish lesson but there is SO much more to do that is even more pressing than the blackberries…

 

In the same family but nice well behaved tame thornless youngberries and loganberries soon to be planted and welcomed into the Serendipity Farm menagerie :)

In the same family as blackberries but nice well behaved tame thornless youngberries and loganberries soon to be planted and welcomed into the Serendipity Farm menagerie 🙂

Transplanted raspberries from where we shoved them in the horse manure next to the blueberries back when they were bare canes. They can grow happily in this nice big compost heap full of tasty things for happy raspberries

Transplanted raspberries from where we shoved them in the horse manure next to the blueberries back when they were bare canes. They can grow happily in this nice big compost heap full of tasty things for happy raspberries

Raspberry futures with a backdrop of Sanctuary

Raspberry futures with a backdrop of Sanctuary

We are working in the veggie garden that I call Sanctuary. Jess, the wonderful and most passionate little rabid hippy from rabbidlittlehippy  fame who has been an inspiration and amazingly good friend to me for a long time now suggested that name for what has become the main focus of my last few weeks and my own passion. Working in the soil (back to the correct vernacular 😉 ) with my bare hands has left them filthy but me feeling a lot more complete than I have in ages. I have not watched any news reports, surfed much online or been a slave to the PC. I have not studied, aside from completing our very last assignment in sustainability which we did as soon as we got it, and I have been throwing myself into planning AND doing things in our garden.

Not berries but still food futures. My rhubarb baby from Gordon down the road and Jerusalem artichokes happily growing in a nice big pile of spent horse manure

Not berries but still food futures. My rhubarb baby from Gordon down the road and Jerusalem artichokes happily growing in a nice big pile of spent horse manure

One of the other compost heaps where I bury my bucketloads of kitchen scraps. Looks like some of those delicious orange pumpkins Stevie-boy has been buying me lately have decided to grow...one of the wonderful benefits of cycles :)

One of the other compost heaps where I bury my bucketloads of kitchen scraps. Looks like some of those delicious orange pumpkins Stevie-boy has been buying me lately have decided to grow…one of the wonderful benefits of cycles 🙂

An old compost heap full of vegetables growing from the debris

An old compost heap full of vegetables growing from the debris

zucchini futures

zucchini futures

 

We recently completed a large fence to allow our dogs to roam free out in the back yard that encompasses a small much possum and wallaby mangled orchard that Earl now patrols at all hours of the day and night. He is incredibly devoted to “his” plants and shrubs and aside from peeing on each and every one of them every day (so much so that we have had to put tyres around our little fig forest to stop them from succumbing from acid wee…) he sleeps upside down on our bed with one ear cocked in order to hear the furry avengers so that he can barrel out the dog door and teach them a lesson in just how fast an Earl can run and just how serious he is about this being “MY” patch now.

Potato flowers

Potato flowers

My Lazarus artichoke that just keeps on keeping on despite being murdered 2 weeks ago. Zombiechoke?

My Lazarus artichoke that just keeps on keeping on despite being murdered 2 weeks ago. Zombiechoke? Note it didn’t have those 2 chokes on it when it was snapped off by the possums.

I found this little misshapen flat hearty stone the other day on my early morning walk with Earl. I thought that it was a very fitting homage to real love which is often misshapen and outside the "normal" parameters, found in odd places and what you make of it. I also thought that it was fitting that this "real love" be represented inside a coffee cup ring because unlike Hollywood love, real love is just as soul satisfying as coffee and tea :)

I found this little misshapen flat hearty stone the other day on my early morning walk with Earl. I thought that it was a very fitting homage to real love which is often misshapen and outside the “normal” parameters, found in odd places and what you make of it. I also thought that it was fitting that this “real love” be represented inside a coffee cup ring because unlike Hollywood love, real love is just as soul satisfying as coffee and tea 🙂

In enclosing the yard we have inadvertently managed to get a bit of orchard protection going on and we have been planting out new trees and shrubs. We rescued our Lazarus almond that had been presumed dead when we moved to Serendipity Farm back in 2010 and in 2011 we wanted the pot that it was in so I told my daughter to tip out the almond onto their compost pile and save the pot for us. She phoned me up and said “do you want that almond tree?” I said “nope…it’s dead” and she said “well, for something that is dead, it has a lot of leaves!” That almond had not had a leaf in a year and a half!

Stevie-boy cut me these tree ring stepping stones... why do I need stepping stones? Well...

Stevie-boy cut me these tree ring stepping stones… why do I need stepping stones? Well…

Narf's little legs are not up to spanning 3 metres so I decided to use stepping stones in order to let me reach the bits I couldn't usually reach where the weeds flourished, nothing got planted or harvested. Now all of the garden is mine!

Narf’s little legs are not up to spanning 3 metres so I decided to use stepping stones in order to let me reach the bits I couldn’t usually reach where the weeds flourished, nothing got planted or harvested. Now all of the garden is mine!

We planted it out in the lower garden but it was only struggling along and we decided that it deserved better so we transplanted it into the new enclosed area where it has perked up and will get regularly watered. If it survives it certainly deserves to live out it’s days, nuts or not, on Serendipity Farm as a miracle tree. I was lucky enough to get 6 rooted cuttings from a poor long suffering, overgrown with weeds,  fig tree at a local primary school that we sometimes walk the dogs on the oval and all 6 fig cuttings were very long (one of them was almost 5ft tall) but all survived. We planted out the first 4 last year and we just added the second 2 that are looking happy as well. I grew loquats from seed and just planted out 3 loquats last week. Everything is looking happy but more importantly, they are all out of pots and in the ground where their real growth can start happening.

There was a spray bottle of milk and water in that wheelbarrow (I don't know if you noticed) to treat the powdery mildew on this little quince tree seen here dripping with milky droplets much to the (sodden) ants disgust

There was a spray bottle of milk and water in that wheelbarrow (I don’t know if you noticed) to treat the powdery mildew on this little quince tree seen here dripping with milky droplets much to the (sodden) ants disgust

Stevie-boy has been busy shopping up logs and splitting them into fire sized chunks thanks to our friends kind use of their log splitter. I moved that entire first pile of lots in under an hour yesterday. Now we can drive the trailer through to reach Sanctuary which means lots of grass clippings and oak leaves and manure are just about to migrate inside :)

Stevie-boy has been busy chopping up logs and splitting them into fire sized chunks thanks to our friends kind use of their log splitter. I moved that entire first pile of lots in under an hour yesterday. Now we can drive the trailer through to reach Sanctuary which means lots of grass clippings and oak leaves and manure are just about to migrate inside 🙂

Stevie-boy and I lugged our ducks ex boat pond in to Sanctuary as well as the old fridge that I have plans to turn into a worm farm with a cooling pond on the other side for happy worms in summer. Soon I will have to prick out my veggie seedlings and repot them to be planted into the main garden area. I planted out 5 red currant bushes that I had grown from cuttings taken from shrubs that were on campus at the TasTAFE horticulture site back in 2009. They all grew and it was about time that I planted them into the ground. We also planted out 7 muscat grapes that will one day give us eating, wine and raisin pleasure.

A bit of an idea how steep Serendipity Farm is, here you see Bezials paddling pond propped up against a tree because it's the only vaguely level bit of ground available as well as the figs we planted and some of the existing fruit trees

A bit of an idea how steep Serendipity Farm is, here you see Bezials paddling pond propped up against a tree because it’s the only vaguely level bit of ground available as well as the figs we planted and some of the existing fruit trees

Taken just outside Sanctuary's door. The oak tree grew from oak leaf mould used as mulch around this lovely rhododendron. Now they cohabit this garden bed quite beautifully :)

Taken just outside Sanctuary’s door. The oak tree grew from oak leaf mould used as mulch around this lovely rhododendron. Now they cohabit this garden bed quite beautifully 🙂

I spotted this lovely Iris on the walk from the house to Sanctuary (the front way) and thought you might like to see it. If you want plants that are seriously bullet proof but that have lovely flowers, irises are your baby. My friend just threw a wheelbarrow of them on the ground and forgot about them and they all grew and are flowering en mass. Lubbly jubbly :)

I spotted this lovely Iris on the walk from the house to Sanctuary (the front way) and thought you might like to see it. If you want plants that are seriously bullet proof but that have lovely flowers, irises are your baby. My friend just threw a wheelbarrow of them on the ground and forgot about them and they all grew and are flowering en mass. Lubbly jubbly 🙂

I am about to buy a few thornless berries to plant inside Sanctuary and there are kiwi berries, some kiwifruit and passionfruit on the cards to join them. I checked my turmeric pots and they are full of turmeric roots that I am going to plant out into a protected and sheltered garden bed inside Sanctuary with my 2 sad cardamom plants that have been languishing in pots since I bought them in 2010. I want everything to get its feet into the soil and at least have a chance to grow. We have lots of nut trees but they pose more of a problem because most nut trees have the propensity to be HUGE. I grew walnuts and chestnuts and hazelnuts from seed. A very easy thing to do and Jessie tells me it is easy to grow almonds from shelled nuts bought from the supermarket. I know you can grow peanuts from unroasted peanuts but most of us don’t think to try growing them. I planted out a few beans from dried beans that I had in my pantry and so far, I have had good success with some small brown Lebanese beans but the rest of the beans were eaten by voracious snails (that ducky can’t get to as she is now unable to enter the garden thanks to netting and Earl).

 

What is left of our potted babies that all need planting out. At least now they form a nice small easy to water clump

What is left of our potted babies that all need planting out. At least now they form a nice small easy to water clump

Steve spotted this tug pulling something huge down the river about an hour ago...

Steve spotted this tug pulling something huge down the river about an hour ago…

That's a mighty big barge! Another one came down the river about an hour later. Not sure what they are but "Barge" is a certainty ;)

That’s a mighty big barge! Another one came down the river about an hour later. Not sure what they are but “Barge” is a certainty 😉

THIS is why we hate forget-me-nots :( We had to venture down into the tea tree garden where the forget-me-nots rule and we both emerged covered in the sticky little buggers :(

THIS is why we hate forget-me-nots 😦 We had to venture down into the tea tree garden where the forget-me-nots rule and we both emerged covered in the sticky little buggers 😦

Looky what narf found on the side of the highway when I walked Earl the other day. The old saying "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need"... is most pertinent. We needed some glass for the glasshouse roof that a fat possum dropped through a little while ago and this bit of 99.9% block out UV laser-light is going to be just the ticket to fix the problem :)

Looky what narf found on the side of the highway when I walked Earl the other day. The old saying “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find, you get what you need”… is most pertinent. We needed some glass for the glasshouse roof that a fat possum dropped through a little while ago and this bit of 99.9% block out UV laser-light is going to be just the ticket to fix the problem 🙂

A sunshiny shot of Sanctuary after Stevie-boy had whipper snipped and everything was looking hunky dory :)

A sunshiny shot of Sanctuary after Stevie-boy had whipper snipped and everything was looking hunky dory 🙂

Life is busy but very rewarding at the moment. I still don’t want to be “wordy” because that would mean I would have to stop being “action-y” and that’s where the real results are at the moment on Serendipity Farm. There are plans to haul materials that we have been storing in the city back to Serendipity Farm to make a long planned and anticipated wood fired pizza oven along with plans to turn a beer keg into a rocket stove. Stevie-boy is logging the remains of our last years fire logs so that we can get a trailer up to Sanctuary and deposit 3 huge trailer loads of drying grass clippings that Glad’s gardener generated next door and that will make a most welcome nitrogenous ingredient to my ever expanding need for compost. If I make the soil myself using compost, I don’t have to buy it in. Penniless student hippies have to think harder and pay less in order to get what they want. It often takes a lot more time BUT you learn so much in the process it is much more valuable than just handing over a credit card and waiting for the (expensive) delivery.

I decided to make savoury kasha for lunch yesterday and toasted some buckwheat groats and onion, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum and vegan chicken seasoning together in a big pan

I decided to make savoury kasha for lunch yesterday and toasted some buckwheat groats and onion, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum and vegan chicken seasoning together in a big pan

After pouring water in and bringing it to the boil I let it simmer till the water evaporated down to level with the buckwheat and put the lid on and turned off the pot. 10 minutes later I had delicious hot savoury buckwheat which was well worth the effort :)

After pouring water in and bringing it to the boil I let it simmer till the water evaporated down to level with the buckwheat and put the lid on and turned off the pot. 10 minutes later I had delicious hot savoury buckwheat which was well worth the effort 🙂

Aside from grass clippings there is a mountain of oak leaves below our deck with an equally huge mountain of old horse manure in which we put some raspberries that our friend Jenny gave us that we never got around to moving and they are now growing like crazy in the horse manure in front of the deck. The blueberries that Stevie-boy had to haul from our American friend Michael’s home who is relocating, were dumped in this same manure and are now covered in blueberries so they get to stay put for this growing season at least. We are going to shore up the sides of the berries and prevent the wallabies, possums and especially the blackbirds from being able to access them. This is going to be no small feat of engineering but we WILL triumph as blueberries and raspberries are worth the effort 🙂

What have we here? This would be narf napalm. I made it to "disuade" the white fly (or mouche blanche as Google translate would have me believe is the French for these miniscule little plant suckers)

What have we here? This would be narf napalm. I made it to “disuade” the white fly (or mouche blanche as Google translate would have me believe is the French for these miniscule little plant suckers)

To half a cup of cooking oil I added half a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The recipe stopped there and said "mix and add in a ratio of 2 and a half teaspoons to a cup of water" I thought that perchance Serendipity Farm mouche blanche were more bolshie than usual and might need a bit more dissuasion so I added chilli powder and garlic...

To half a cup of cooking oil I added half a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. The recipe stopped there and said “mix and add in a ratio of 2 and a half teaspoons to a cup of water” I thought that perchance Serendipity Farm mouche blanche were more bolshie than usual and might need a bit more dissuasion so I added chilli powder and garlic…

mouche blanche pesto! (note to self...remember to put the lid on properly...no mouche blanche will be landing on the wall next to my vitamix any day soon :( )

mouche blanche pesto! (note to self…remember to put the lid on properly…no mouche blanche will be landing on the wall next to my vitamix any day soon 😦 )

And here we have it narf mouche blanche napalm. I headed up to spray it and this spray bottle promptly seized up. I then broke the second spray bottle whilst falling up the steps to test it (sigh) so ended up having to bless the mouche blanche with the dripping end of my spray bottle nozzle like the Pope at Easter. The things we do!

And here we have it narf mouche blanche napalm. I headed up to spray it and this spray bottle promptly seized up. I then broke the second spray bottle whilst falling up the steps to test it (sigh) so ended up having to bless the mouche blanche with the dripping end of my spray bottle nozzle like the Pope at Easter. The things we do!

As you can see there is a lot going on here. We also need to get up to the back acre and whipper snip it to within an inch of it’s life. We have been promised a terrible bushfire season this year thanks to a dry winter and hotter than average projected summer temperatures this year so we need to make sure we have done everything that we can to protect Serendipity Farm should a fire occur. Frank, our next door neighbour would love for us to whipper snip our whole property…actually…I get the feeling he would love us to concrete the whole lot to reduce the HORENDOUS fire risk our permaculture namby-pamby ideas have created but them’s the breaks Frank. We are, as of this moment, allowed to do what we want to do with our property and whatchagonnadoeh?

Aside from hauling a trailer load of grass clippings from Glad's place next door we decided to create a blueberry sanctuary to protect our blueberry futures from everything that would predate them en mass in the near future. Here are our blueberries going gangbusters in a large heap of spent horse manure. They are covered in berries that are just starting to turn pink and I have been catching the blackbirds taking an interest in them. Time for ACTION!

Aside from hauling a trailer load of grass clippings from Glad’s place next door we decided to create a blueberry sanctuary to protect our blueberry futures from everything that would predate them en mass in the near future. Here are our blueberries going gangbusters in a large heap of spent horse manure. They are covered in berries that are just starting to turn pink and I have been catching the blackbirds taking an interest in them. Time for ACTION!

After getting covered in forget-me-nots collecting some tea tree poles for our structure we got to work...

After getting covered in forget-me-nots collecting some tea tree poles for our structure we got to work…

"Get out of the way Stevie-boy, my dear constant readers want to see the structure!" (Sigh...you can't get hired help like you used to... ;) )

“Get out of the way Stevie-boy, my dear constant readers want to see the structure!” (Sigh…you can’t get hired help like you used to… 😉 )

All finished except for narf7 has to shovel a stack of horse manure and oak leaves in to ensure these babies are growing happily well into summer and we have to cover the enclosure with bird netting that our friend gave us yesterday. "Cheers Jen!" :)

All finished except for narf7 has to shovel a stack of horse manure and oak leaves in to ensure these babies are growing happily well into summer and we have to cover the enclosure with bird netting that our friend gave us yesterday. “Cheers Jen!” 🙂 We reused some old corrugated iron that has seen so many purposes here we have stopped counting it’s usefulness

The view from the deck. Earl has already sniffed and christened the pole closest to the deck ;)

The view from the deck. Earl has already sniffed and christened the pole closest to the deck 😉

So life is busy, words are few (but obviously still able to be extracted) and action is more prevalent than thought here at the moment. I hope you will all understand the lack of wordiness and the increase in image content for a little while. Narfs creative spirit is on holiday and needs a much needed rest. Rather than put the blog etc. on hiatus, I am putting it on “normal” for a bit and will be concentrating on the results of our actions rather than posing my usual thought based posts. See you next week where goodness only knows what we have managed to achieve but “achieve” we will! 🙂

 

One Fran went to mow…

Hi Folks,

I can feel it starting…it feels like a small itch in my brain. A tiny little irritation that I know is going to grow a little every day until I am consumed by its scratchiness and am forced to itch. I have felt this before on many occasions. It’s the herald of a new beginning…the start of something new and the tiny flicker of a flame that I know is going to be a raging bushfire furnace by the end of summer. I have become…a “Gardener”. A small tendril of green twined around my soul while I was out watering my new veggie garden. I felt it start to unravel and a little leaf came into existence. I think it’s a beanstalk. Narf7 doesn’t do anything by half and neither do beanstalks. Addiction comes hard and fast and soon I will be waxing lyrical about potatoes and moon planting and gumboots and powdery mildew but at the moment it’s just a small twinge where my addiction valve appears to have developed a little leak… the garden is trickling out and it wants me to do its bidding

DSCF5683

Can you feel it pulling me in? That honeysuckle is rampant!

DSCF5674

Grass mowed and left to mulch the “lawn” as the weather gets hotter

DSCF5679

Steve’s Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) just about to flower for the first time

DSCF5655

Amongst all of these weeds there are raspberries!

DSCF5356

My haul for the walk included these 4 little loquat japonica trees

DSCF5539

They might be considered weeds here in Tasmania but I love dog roses 🙂

DSCF5360

The key to Steve’s heart 😉

I don’t mind being a garden slave. It’s something that pays you back. I have been a slave for lesser things and this makes a refreshing change.  However there is the delightful pastime of “pottering” and there is “solid hard work” and I am afraid that Serendipity Farm requires less of the first and a whole lot more of the latter. We just had a couple of days of real summer. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the plants decided to make hay while the sun shone and so did I. We officially finished our course on Thursday last week and on Friday I headed over to my daughters to stay overnight in order to get a nice early start on a trip to Hobart. I love how my daughters have inherited my adventurous spirit when it comes to cooking and food. They are wonderful cooks and they use some very interesting ingredients. Whatever you get is always delicious and you probably won’t get the same thing twice.

DSCF5345

The Deviot Heritage apple and pear enclosure where I shamelessly pilfer seed and cutting material. That large “stalk” on the right hand side is angelica and I discovered that it was just about to seed…

DSCF5317

That’s not rolled oats in my bag folks, that’s angelica seed!

DSCF5342

Another view of the enclosed garden. This is where I got the idea to build our own fully enclosed garden and ours is bigger than this one 🙂

DSCF5323

One of the lovely gardens that we pass on our Deviot walks with the boys…

DSCF5328

And another one…

DSCF5326

And another one

We got up early on Saturday and headed off to Hobart so that the girls could do their Christmas shopping. We had a great time on the drive down and the girls had thoughtfully provided me with homemade iced coffee made with agave nectar as they know that I don’t have sugar. It certainly kept me awake for the drive. We arrived nice and early to get a car park at the Salamanca Markets and spent 2 hours wandering around testing delicious products. I had a scrumptious vegan pie for breakfast and then just before we headed off I had a vegan burrito which was delicious also. Hobart seems to be a much more cosmopolitan city than Launceston. The place that we stayed was amazing value and very central to where we wanted to be in Sandy Bay. The Korean restaurant that the girls had picked out for us to have our evening meal at was right at the front of it and we were surrounded by Japanese, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants and there was even a German bakery for dessert. We walked around a bit to check out the shops and found a small Korean shop that the girls got very excited about and a new trip has been planned for early next year in order to go on a Korean food shopping spree.

DSCF5607

Cue one delicious Korean meal

DSCF5610

Followed by a nice brisk uphill walk to wear it off

DSCF5626

Bethany reliving her childhood

DSCF5623

And me having a second one 😉

We got up early the next morning and packed our things and headed out to hunt for the elusive breakfast. We parked at one end of the city and realised that we would have to hang around as the meter didn’t start till 9 and we were early. We noticed a sea of blue tents that heralded an outdoor farmers market and we headed in to be told that “we can’t officially sell anything to you until 9”…sigh…9 is apparently the magic Hobart number. I had noticed some perennial leeks and an Egyptian walking onion for sale that I needed…yes…I NEEDED! So after checking out an indoor (sad) market we headed back to the outdoor market and I got my perennial vegetables. Madeline wanted some Tatsoi and Mizuna to try in her garden so I bought her some. Now I need to get my hands on some potato onions but I have to wait till late December before they become available again. At least the supplier is in Tasmania so that means I won’t have to jump through hoops to get them.

DSCF5630

Gotta love anyone who has a Trogdor the Burninator sticker…I am dead jel!

DSCF5635

I loved this little mustard yellow leather couch that was in our room

DSCF5639

The rest of the room was excellent as well, 2 huge queen sized beds and a large bathroom with a bath

DSCF5595

The view just outside our door

DSCF5603

Under one of the walkways in the undercover open air area outside the rooms

DSCF5605

The “roof”, a large canvas circus tent type arrangement that covered the entire area

We drove back home slowly and after depositing the girls at home and taking the son-and-heir out to buy a plastic jerry can to fill with fuel in order to mow his lawn I drove back home ready to be jumped on and I wasn’t disappointed. Dogs certainly know how to show you that they missed you :). For the rest of this week I have been mowing. The title of this post is somewhat accurate because I mowed some of the meadow which made it even more obvious that I am going to have to get out there and mow/whipper snip  the rest of it in order to skip around the outside of getting a fine. We have started watering our potted plants again and I have been eating strawberries from my pots as I head out nice and early to walk Earl. It’s almost cherry season and cherries herald Christmas in Australia. It looks like it is going to be a really good cherry season this year as we even have cherries on our poor old specimen…the possums ate the leaves but not the cherries (so far…). We will be starting work on extending the dogs enclosure soon which will give them a much bigger area to run around and play in. Earl will be able to spread his territory around a bit and hopefully won’t rust the deck poles any more in the process

DSCF5647

The next day we headed into the city to have breakfast. You can see Mt Wellington in the background

DSCF5583

Delicious wood fired pizza at the Salamanca Market

DSCF5579

A ragtime band of buskers called “Mangus” playing for the crowds at the markets

DSCF5645

A lovely atrium idea linking 2 businesses

DSCF5649

The outdoor markets where I got my Egyptian walking onion and perennial leek

I would have liked to have started sinking the poles for the enclosure a bit earlier but time is against us this year and we will have to do the best that we can. The chooks have gotten cleverer and I have NO idea where they are laying most of their eggs. One chook has been laying on a hay bale in the shed so I know where to get her egg and her underlings that all lay in the same nest so I get a couple of eggs a day and we have a LOT of chooks…so many we have had to start buying more chook food in order to keep them happy. We noticed another hen down in the teatree garden with a small flock of chicks. I also noticed a larger chicken in the outside enclosure that I have NO idea where it came from. We shuffle chooks and babies into this area in order to give them a chance against the feral cats that spend their days waiting to catch chickens. For some reason they stay clear of the outside compound (maybe the rooster is fierce!) so we figure if we can herd them into this compound, they have a better chance than most to stay alive and so far we have been right. There are 7 babies of varying ages inside this compound with their mums.  I just went on a very hopeful egg hunt of the outside part of the chook run and noticed this chick that hadn’t been there before. Maybe I have just missed it in passing as it has a rather striking camouflage look about it. It is mostly brown like a Wyandotte but has white and black markings on it as well. Whatever it is it’s a clever little critter to find its way into the safe part of Serendipity Farm. I know it doesn’t belong to anyone inside the compound because it is the lowest on the pecking order but it is determined and it’s pretty and I applaud its spirit for being able to recognise where the chances of survival are the best. I had best watch this chook, most of them are lacking in velociraptor ancestors? 😉

DSCF5641

Bethany is an insomniac and stays awake for ages but Madeline and I were absolutely knackered…the only way that we could see for her to stay up reading and for us to get some sleep was to get clever with pillows…

DSCF5643

My pillow had obviously been stolen by this point 😉

DSCF5578

On the way down to Hobart some bright spark had amended this sign 😉

My daughters have come up with what they believe to be the answer to the conundrum of Christmas. Now that Stewart and Kelsey live here in Launceston we are all together for Christmas but in saying that, we are all quintessential hermits who like our own space. Getting together just because we are told to get together breeds resentment especially when people have their own ideas about how Christmas should go (read the girls EXTRAVAGANZA and our simple…) so I got Madeline to throw some ideas around with Bethany and they have decided that we should all start a new Christmas tradition of getting together the day before Christmas for our communal celebration. Technically most of Europe starts their celebrations the day before Christmas and in central and eastern Europe (in particular Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania have a traditional meatless 12 dish Christmas Eve Supper before opening gifts. I won’t mention the “meatless” part but the opening gifts are going to be part of it. At least I will be standing in solidarity with my Russian brothers and sisters and won’t be eating any meat ;).

DSCF5564

Looks like we have a hairy visitor…

DSCF5319

The birds are hatching out babies all over the place

DSCF5673

The Jerusalem artichokes that I shoved in here last year are apparently alive and well and growing exponentially

DSCF5670

One of many pumpkins coming up from compost dumped on top of the spent horse manure

DSCF5667

These peas were planted last Wednesday…

DSCF5664

So were these carrots…Jenny doesn’t do anything by halves, there are 1000 carrot seeds and 10 rows of peas

DSCF5658

Just about to start transplanting these and their brothers and sisters into the ground inside the enclosure along with red currants. The wild raspberries are going crazy this year and all have tiny fruit developing. I will try to see if I can get a few photos to share with you all before the birds scoff them all. Much like wild strawberries, these tiny little wild raspberries have the most intense exquisite flavour, the birds are clever sods!

I like the idea of sharing a communal meal the day before…everyone bringing something that they have made to the table and a dessert each…sort of an Aussie thanksgiving for us all being together and then on Christmas day we get to celebrate however the heck we want to. Even Steve is happy about this new tradition so the girls are on to a winner there. Sorry about talking about Christmas but you are all going to have to face it soon…it’s coming for another year and it’s like a steam train this time. At least all of you Northerners get a “proper” Christmas, we Aussies are wandering around in our t-shirts wondering how little we can wear to Christmas lunch before we offend one of the neighbours and they call the police! The weather will be hot, most of us will eat a HUGE hot meal and will roll off to the beach to watch the kids play cricket…Aussie Christmas is NOTHING like a Northern Christmas.  Before you know it we will be up to our armpits in 2014. I hope you all get a handle on your Christmas preparations and that it goes incredibly smoothly and wonderfully this year. By the way…don’t look now, but it’s snowing on Serendipity Farm! I noticed it earlier…must be something to do with global warming… ;). See you all next week 🙂

A rooster is just a set of bagpipes with feathers

Hi All,

I just finished my last Saturday’s post where I waffled about sushi and gloves. I must be getting officially “old”…if you read the post; you are obviously getting officially old as well ;). Misery LOVES company…would you like a rooster? I have 2 that love to crow under the deck at crazy hours. The sun isn’t going to be anywhere NEAR up till about 7am today and they are already crowing great guns under the deck at a place that approximates the direct area underneath my feet as I sit here typing at 4.21am. I just finished telling you about Sarah’s amazing gift of a wonderful pair of hand knitted wrist warming finger and thumbless mitts and I am wearing the mitts as I type. They are akin to when your teenager insists on you buying them a specific jumper/jacket and then proceed to cut a hole in said (very expensive) jumper/jacket about 2 ½ inches (or 5cm for we enlightened folk) from the cuff just so they can stick their thumb through it and wear their jumper/jacket as a glove as well as a coat. I love them FAR beyond their physical presence because these gloves are giving me the impetus to get knitting again where there wasn’t even an inkling of a desire to knit prior to their arrival

DSCF2030

You can almost hear the roosters crowing in the background can’t you? 😉

DSCF2037

Early morning on Serendipity Farm with the obvious chance of precipitation 😉

Earl needs a coat. Earl is an amazing creation of muscle and scars and bones that all combine to create something that nature surely couldn’t produce without worrying about the result as soon as she stood back to take a look at her creation. Earl also has a curious lack of hair. He comes from South Australia and to anyone who isn’t an Aussie that means he comes from the equivalent of the Gobi Desert. It’s hot there folks…hot for an extended period of the year…hot and dry and perhaps dogs are starting to go through a form of natural selection that allows them to live their lives with less hair to keep them cooler. The problem is when you move a South Australian dog that has little hair and lots of body mass down to the Australian equivalent of the South Pole and winter hits… Earl loves to walk. He would walk all day if you let him. The problem is that Earl not only has very little hair, but the hair that he does have sheds. He must grow hair like sharks grow teeth, constantly, because I spend my days sweeping our wooden floors and rugs and get the equivalent of a small red and white mammal worth of hair from these rugs courtesy of Earl each day.

DSCF2001

Steve tapping in one of the poles for the fully enclosed vegetable garden

DSCF2002

This shot shows you the area that we are currently working in to build our fully enclosed vegetable garden. You can see the wood shed and the glass house and the existing vegetable gardens in the shot along with lots and LOTS of rocks and the trees that we had to cut down to ensure the garden gets enough sunshine

We can’t not walk Earl…we do so at our peril because when Earl gets bored, he eats the furniture. We have been warned! Knowing almost everyone in your neighbourhood has its perils as well. When you walk daily you become part of other people’s routines. Through the week we walk at roughly the same time every day. We pass the same people on their same journeys to work and school and these people have claimed us as part of their routine…they wave at us now. We have NO idea who these people are, but we are kindred spirits on that early morning journey to and from life. We are peripherals to other people’s routines and lives and as such they think that they own us. We get stopped a lot and called to from balconies and we chat and Earl sits shivering beside us looking up at us imploring us to “MOVE!”. Earl needs a coat. I was tempted to take my newfound desire to knit and render it Earl shaped…I could use up all of my leftover bits and pieces of wool and make Earl his own coat of many colours…Earl would like that. It would last for the first couple of kilometres until Earl found a bit to chew and by the end of the walk, Earl would have unravelled most of it and there would be a long trail of evidence leading from wherever we just walked all the way to our front gate! ”Busted sunshine!”…sigh…

DSCF2003

We are (in our minds) cleverly going to use these 2 eucalyptus trees as a basis for our gating system for our large fully enclosed garden. Here you can see Steve working on another pole and can get a bit of scale regarding the area

I won’t be knitting Earl a jumper any day soon. I am not (despite what I might seem) a stupid woman. We will pay some middle man (most probably from Korea where dogs are prized for more than their ability to guard a house 😉 ) to deliver a waterproof, cotton lined equivalent of a flak jacket made from sensible oilcloth that will lend Earl a sophisticated “Gentleman about town” look. Bezial won’t be needing a coat “thank you VERY much”. He has thick black fur that covers him entirely, courtesy of that small portion of him that shrieks “LABRADOR”. He might look like an American Staffordshire terrier…he might act like an American Staffordshire terrier, but that tiny little bit of Labrador is reflected in his fur, his appetite and his overwhelming desire to seek out water and delight in its comeliness at all times. Forget the coat; Bezial is on Labrador time…

DSCF2006

All of the poles had been hammered into the ground here and this shot is to try to give you a bit of perspective on where the garden is going to go. The existing veggie gardens take up approximately one quarter of the area that the large new garden will give us and are situated inside the parameters of the new garden area

DSCF2008

One of Steve’s newly concreted in poles. The branches from the felled trees are going to become a hugelkultur base for the new garden beds and the wood will be stored for next years firewood…nothing gets wasted on Serendipity Farm if we can possibly help it.

We got 3 days of rain last week and we are making hay while the sun shines and for once, Mr Jamie Oliver’s overuse of and entirely inappropriate use of the vernacular “literally” is quite honestly a reasonable word to use for our current situation. I started attempting to add porridge oats back into my morning routine now that I have hit my magic “ideal weight” but have discovered that oats give me a headache. I was wondering why I kept getting headaches. I stopped getting them when I reintroduced my morning green smoothies and they started again when I reintroduced porridge. It was the ONLY explanation and as an oat and porridge lover from way back I feel cheated. What could I eat that could take the place of the ubiquitous stomach filling long lasting humble (cheap) oat? I had to take to the internet to find out. I arrived at a few of the more exotic grains that I really didn’t want to imbibe on a regular basis (read expensive…) and bypassed them quickly. What I arrived at can be grown here on Serendipity Farm as a cover crop and loves our temperate climate… “Buckwheat”…the humble soul food of pancake creations made its über healthy self both obvious and noticeable.

DSCF2011

Spot the little wren with an insect she found in the hole that Steve dug

DSCF2013

I stood back to try to get you an idea of the scope of this garden but at the end of the day its just HUGE… 🙂 About the size of a standard tennis court.

Buckwheat? Who eats buckwheat! I don’t really know who eats is apart from the Russians and Canadians but now narf7 eats it as well. I decided to try making it like porridge. I got some raw groats (that’s what they are called folks) that I had in a container in our middle room pantry shelf and I ground them into buckwheat flour in my Vitamix. I then added a teaspoon of dried ginger because ginger makes EVERYTHING better for narf7. I added a couple of generous scoops of cocoa powder because choc-ginger makes a suspicious food a whole lot more tempting and hopefully the combination of flavours might just cover up any strange flavours that buckwheat might offer into the mix. I then tipped this floury brown mix into a saucepan and used some date syrup (the mix that results from the leftover date paste in the bottom of my Vitamix that I am
too lazy to scrape out and just whizz up with the date soaking water to make a thinner sweet syrupy date mix) to sweeten the mix. Date paste and syrup are nowhere near as sweet as sugar but add a subtle hint of sweetness to whatever you add them to along with a big hit of fibre and nutrition (especially iron). I started to stir the floury mix into the syrupy mix and become somewhat alarmed at the resulting gloopy looking mix. After smoothing out the lumps it had a decided slimy sort of texture…not promising folks!

DSCF2014

We are still trying to work out what to do with that little ride on lawn mower behind the trunk of the tree on the left hand side of this shot…any ideas? Using it for it’s original intention isn’t an option due to the steep gradients and rock infested tundra on Serendipity Farm

DSCF2017

You can tell that Steve has done this before…

I suspiciously put the pan onto the hob and stirred it all together with a wooden spoon. I figured it would react like oats do and would thicken…I was right! Buckwheat might be slimy when it is in its unheated form but as soon as the temperature reaches the equivalent of 88 miles per hour (do yourselves a favour if you don’t know what I am talking about there and watch the “Back to the Future” trilogy, thank me later…) it suddenly seizes and turns into cement. My absent minded stirring suddenly turned into a wrestling match between the buckwheat and I for possession of the spoon and I am ashamed to admit, the buckwheat won! What grain is this that can best a well-honed human bicep in an arm wrestling match and claim the spoon eh? Now I was afraid! I was just about to put this creature into my intestinal tract to see if it could tango!

DSCF2018

In a past life Steve used to be very proficient with concrete…a skill that has come in handy more than once since we moved to Serendipity Farm

DSCF2019

Left over concrete mix that we then decided to use to try to fill in some of the worst holes in our driveway (see Kym, we DO think of you 😉 )

I scraped the resulting “porridge” (for want of a better word), still containing my wooden spoon, into a bowl. It sat there stiffly with the spoon poking out of it at a jaunty angle and I eyeballed it closely. It seemed innocuous enough, and after pulling my spoon out of its thick mass with a primordial “schlepp” I considered how I was going to tackle this mound of buckwheat, ginger and cocoa. I decided to eat it plain, without non-dairy milk or kefir so that I could get a true representation of its “flavour”. Flavour isn’t an issue with me by the way folks, I sometimes eat strange things simply because they are good for me as a vegan and I was prepared for “strange” and willing to wear it for the sake of something that would stick to my ribs and last for half a day. I stuck a dessert spoon into the mound and got the distinct impression of when an arrow goes into a dartboard and just “stops”. I had just been warned…

DSCF2097

We got these metal poles for free so Steve cleverly made a stanchion with some offcuts to brace this corner pole and make it a whole lot stronger. We want this fully enclosed vegetable garden to last!

DSCF2100

Earl on patrol

I forced my way into the mass of buckwheat and started to eat. Buckwheat has a nice mild nutty flavour that is quite pleasant and after researching it prior to eating it I know it is cram packed with gluten free nutrition. I ate spoon after spoon of this dense creation with increasing enjoyment when suddenly I hit the equivalent of a runners “wall” or a career forgers “glass ceiling”…half a bowl in and buckwheat made itself known to my stomach in no uncertain terms. It told my stomach “you are now full…do NOT eat any more buckwheat…proceed to go/work and do not collect $200 because you are not going to need it, you are officially FULL WOMAN”. I don’t “fill” easily. I find it difficult to believe that half a bowl of buckwheat was going to fill me up. I foolishly carried on to finish the bowl… the equivalent bowl of porridge oats would have satiated me nicely until lunch time. This bowl of buckwheat spent the rest of the day reminding me that I should have stopped at half the bowl and that buckwheat porridge is the equivalent of eating house bricks in powdered form. I only regained “hunger” at 6pm that evening! I have learned my lesson…I will eat buckwheat porridge on a regular basis but half the amount I ate the other day. “You have bested me again buckwheat! You are a true master of seeds; I bow and concede to your superiority”

DSCF2092

The two grey areas on our driveway were, prior to this photo, very large holes. We are attempting to try to fix the deep furrows on our driveway so that Kym can actually drive up in August, rather than park at the church and walk 😉

Every Saturday, without fail, I inflict Armageddon on the localised population of spiders that live indoors on Serendipity Farm. I guess “Armageddon” might be too stiff a word for it and a more appropriate explanation might be the end results of a very strong storm when it relocates houses and flotsam and jetsam from where they were located before, to a new location. In my case I vacuum and clean on a Saturday. I am particularly careful not to vacuum up spiders. I don’t like killing things because you just never know…reincarnation might just be part of our life cycle and I might have just hoovered up someone’s uncle Ernie. If you were a bit of a deadbeat in your past life you might end up in Serendipity Farms spider population…you weren’t bad, just a lazy person who didn’t pull their weight and who just wasted their life bumming around but because you didn’t actually affect anyone aside from yourself and your long suffering mother (especially if she was Jewish and REALLY wanted a lawyer-doctor-specialist-insert other high paying career here… for a son/daughter), you are allowed to live someplace where you are considered to be part of the ethos and given some kind of “rights”.

DSCF2094

These 2 seedpods have made me VERY happy. This brachychiton tree was on it’s last legs a few years ago but it seems to have recovered now and had flowers for the first time in years this year and it has produced seed pods! Steve and I can now harvest these seed pods and grow some more brachychitons that are especially hardy for our local area

Bad people get reincarnated at my sister’s house. If you cheated, you lied, you broke people’s hearts and you were generally a bit of a nasty piece of work you might find yourself waking up in an arachnid’s body in the home of an arachnophobe. My sister could care less about spiders but her partner hates them…with a passion…any spider stumbling into his pathway is likely to have a VERY short reincarnation adjustment period and will return to be reprogrammed as something equally as insidious quick smart on the flat side of an enormous flip-flop (we call them “thongs” here in Australia BUT knowing that “thongs” also have another connotation elsewhere in the world I wouldn’t want ANYONE thinking that Jason wears men’s string underpants and likes to sit on spiders…kinky stuff Jase…kinky stuff ;)…most probably as a cockroach on Serendipity Farm where narf7 will reveal that cockroaches are one of the ONLY things that she hates with a passion and you will get fed to ducky quick smart…you might want to start mending your ways as after me it gets worse!

DSCF2089

Isn’t our Japanese maple putting on a lovely show this year? Another sign that our trees think we are living in Canada and that it is going to be VERY cold this year

Anyhoo…I vacuum and I tidy and I clean once a week in earnest. Most other days I give a few rudimentary sweeps to stop Earls rapidly shed hair from accumulating too much and forming into a small rodent that might or might not predate my stocks of seed in my pantry but on Saturday I get stuck in and put the boot into the dirt population on Serendipity Farm. I have to lock the doors as Earl hates the vacuum cleaner and tries to kill it if given the chance…only when it is actually on and only when the vacuum cleaner head is off and he can grab the hose and bite it. A specific vacuum cleaner serial killer is our Earl…I have to lure him (cleverly) from room to room and then shut doors and make sure he can’t get in. Earl is clever; he can push doors open with his paws and his nose so we have little latches everywhere so that we can vacuum in peace rather than pieces.

water1S

Steve took this awesome motion blur shot with his new camera and without the aid of a tripod…apparently it’s VERY hard to take a shot like this without a tripod but when you forgot it, and you are 50km away from home, you do what you have to do 😉

IMG_2077

Steve took this lovely autumnal shot when we were in Beauty Point taking some photos for our final Digital Imaging assessment earlier in the week and walking the dogs at the same time. I think it goes to show just how pretty the area that we live in actually is. Tassie…you might be broke, but you are easy on the eye! 😉

If I had the equivalent of hurricane Katrina hit me where it hurts and remove my house and my possessions I would head off to someplace where there were NO hurricanes, no cyclones, no earthquakes, no anything really…the Ozarks perchance…I would head for the hills and I wouldn’t come back because I have a rudimentary brain stem and I can learn things and “FOOL ME ONCE NATURE!”. Apparently spiders are either missing that rudimentary brain stem that allows them a degree of memory and thus choice, or they really ARE lazy buggers from another life who just wait for me to finish and start spinning again…”whew Bruce…that was a close one wasn’t it? She got pretty close to me today…I saw you standing up to her…you’re a HERO mate! Remind me to shout you a fly next time I catch one…” and the cycle goes on…suck down their empire on Saturday and by Sunday they are working on a new one

DSCF2091

Steve put my new craypot (from the progressive garage sale) on the deck rail. We are still waiting for crayfish…none yet…

Steve is digging holes for Queen and country. He needs to dig 8 holes today and has been dreading it for weeks. Hopefully someone up there takes pity on him and makes the soil where he chooses to dig nice and soft and rock free and he returns at lunch time in triumph with his spade over his shoulder feeling pretty good about himself. The sad truth is that he is likely to be still working on hole 4 at 5.30pm when the sun is almost gone and his back and spirit are almost broken. I, in return for him kindly not expecting me to help him dig holes, am doing all the cleaning myself. I am baking him biscuits (cookies to you Americans), I am keeping the fire going and I am going to make him his new favourite Stromboli for his dinner tonight. I have just taken a brief hiatus to type out this final paragraph here because I formulated the second half of this post while I was vacuuming around spiders…it’s a funny world isn’t it folks! Have a great rest of your week and remember, if you suddenly find yourself waking up after being unexpectedly hit by a bus and you didn’t really do very much wrong in your life but you weren’t a shining example of humanity either, you might just find yourself a spider on the wall on Serendipity Farm ;)…I guess there are worse things to be…aren’t there Jason! 😉

DSCF2096

The last of the liquidambar leaves just about to head south for the winter…