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 🙂

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!”

 

How my grandmother would have loved the internet

Hi All,

Steve's new camera view from over our deck

Steve’s new camera view from over our deck

I always remember my grandmother as a very strong and resourceful woman. As children we used to love visiting her house as she always had some new and most interesting thing for us to do and if she hadn’t gotten around to getting grandad to make us a small loom or some other craft, we always had a large box of the most interesting puzzles and homemade games to keep us amused. If we weren’t in the mood for a game or puzzle, we had their wonderful garden to explore or we could always push off in the bootle bumtrinket, a tiny little rowboat that we could explore the small island that was just off a point not too far from their home on the inlet. My grandmother was a most interesting person and it showed.

What do you have for tea when it is 37C inside the house and you really don't want to cook and heat it up even more? You cook good old fashioned Aussie sausage rolls on the bbq! ;)

What do you have for tea when it is 37C inside the house and you really don’t want to cook and heat it up even more? You cook good old fashioned Aussie sausage rolls on the bbq! 😉

Steve took this lovely shot of some lichen on a branch at Hollybank

Steve took this lovely shot of some lichen on a branch at Hollybank

Another "Wait a minute while I take a photo!" moment...This is half a cooked artichoke that I am actually in the process of eating prior to being used as a hand model ;)

Another “Wait a minute while I take a photo!” moment…This is half a cooked artichoke that I am actually in the process of eating prior to being used as a hand model 😉

We no longer dread taking down the decorations as our "Ikea flat pack tree" makes it such an easy process. It's now under the spare bed taking up NO room at all :)

We no longer dread taking down the decorations as our “Ikea flat pack tree” makes it such an easy process. It’s now under the spare bed taking up NO room at all 🙂

She always had some kind of interesting thing that she was learning. She knew how to knit, to crochet, to tat and much more. She grew herbs in her garden and she was always learning as much as she could. I am sure that the local library gave her a gold card she used it that much. My grandparents weren’t wealthy but they had a wealth of knowledge between them. Grandad was a carpenter and could make just about anything to do with wood and Grandma was one of the most resourceful women that I know.

Steve using some kind of "mode" on his new camera that makes things look extra teeny tiny from high up. All you tech heads probably know what this function is but whatever it is, it looks pretty shmick ;)

Steve using some kind of “mode” on his new camera that makes things look extra teeny tiny from high up. All you tech heads probably know what this function is but whatever it is, it looks pretty shmick 😉

Lunch that consists of onion lightly sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, peas and beans and covered with water, brought up to the boil and some veggie stock powder added and then some ground brown rice flour. A most interesting and tasty lunch

Lunch that consists of onion lightly sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic, peas and beans and covered with water, brought up to the boil and some veggie stock powder added and then some ground brown rice flour. A most interesting and tasty lunch reminiscent of polenta

A nice shot of moss from Hollybank

A nice shot of moss on an old dry stone wall at Hollybank

A tiny (1.5cm) frog on raspberry leaves at our friends house the other day

A tiny (1.5cm) frog on raspberry leaves at our friends house the other day

I was hunting for information about natural dyes this morning and found this amazing link

http://maiwahandprints.blogspot.ca/p/guide-to-natural-dyes.html

Practically a whole library book of information available to moi, sitting here in my early morning fuggish haze tinged with excitement from my glorious find. Anything that I want to learn about is online. I just have to do a bit of sifting and hunting for the quality stuff. It is getting harder and harder to sift through as so much utter garbage is being shuffled about in the name of twitter, hash tags and links that don’t actually lead anywhere but that’s the minefield that is the net. If you want quality information, you are just going to have to go out there and find it and that’s where I step in.

Bezial would like it to be known that he is NOT fat, he is big boned!

Bezial would like it to be known that he is NOT fat, he is big boned!

A Tasmanian trigger plant (Stylidium graminifolium) that Steve took a photo of with his new camera

A Tasmanian trigger plant (Stylidium graminifolium) that Steve took a photo of with his new camera

 

I love learning. I am also a penniless student hippy who lives a fair way away from the library. I adore the library and use it a lot (although not so much recently) but the internet allows me to hunt from my inner sanctum and save this information to my own little library of great happiness. As soon as I get interested in something (and lets face it, just about everything interests little old me 😉 ), I go hunting. My 3am starts are part RSS Feed Read and part “lets just see where this will take me…” a most delightful way to find things out.

A lovely young Tasmanian fairy wren sunning himself early the other day when we walked the dogs in the park over the Batman bridge

A lovely young Tasmanian Superb fairy wren sunning himself early the other day when we walked the dogs in the park over the Batman bridge

Steve headed over to the Gorge restaurant site in order to see if he could get some nice pictures the other day when he was in the city doing the shopping. This male peacock was most insistent that he take his photo. Isn't he lovely?

Steve headed over to the Gorge restaurant site in order to see if he could get some nice pictures the other day when he was in the city doing the shopping. This male peacock was most insistent that he take his photo. Isn’t he lovely?

My grandmother would have adored the internet. She would have immediately realised it’s intrinsic value to her as a long standing magpie. Information…for free…that you didn’t have to drive to town to get? SCORE! Grandma didn’t drive and my grandad only had his motorbike license so they had to wait till mum drove them to town so the internet would have given my grandmother a degree of freedom that she couldn’t have thought was even possible. She would also have been able to keep in contact with her sisters and other family in the U.K. for free. OH what an amazing resource we have at our fingertips for pennies. My grandmother would have called me a “lucky bugger” and I am fully cognisant of just what a lucky bugger I am.

New Years day cocktails

New Years day cocktails. Enough fruit and veggies in this one to call it lunch! 😉

Hot days = cold beer and shandies

Hot days = cold beer and shandies in our redneck drinking mugs 😉

Me sorting through my beer bottle caps that I have been collecting for a year

Me sorting through my beer bottle caps that I have been collecting for a year

(do you see what I have to put up with! ;) )

(do you see what I have to put up with! Apparently this is motion blur and focal points 😉 )

Getting jiggy with the hammer and flattening out the remaining beer bottle caps to turn them into teeny tiny alcoholic bunting for Stevie-boys music room

Getting jiggy with the hammer and flattening out the remaining beer bottle caps to turn them into teeny tiny alcoholic bunting for Stevie-boys music room

We have been very busy little beavers this week.  On New Years Eve I stayed up and both Stevie-boy and I welcomed in the New Year for once. We had a little basket with coal (that my mum had given me on her last Christmas here, I must have been naughty! 😉 ), bread and money in it and as Steve is naturally dark haired, he had to walk in to the doors (both opened up to let out the bad and let the good in) and receive the basket. By the sound of it, we were the only ones in Sidmouth up at 12 to see in the New Year. NO idea why we did this aside from sticking with someone else’s tradition and then we popped a cheap bottle of peach flavoured passion pop that Steve picked up as he thought that I wouldn’t stay awake for 12 and we wouldn’t need it. OH how wrong he was! It was pretty much undrinkable so we had a sip each, grimaced and then went to bed.

My prototype drop spindle until Steve can get around to making me a Turkish drop spindle

My prototype drop spindle until Steve can get around to making me a Turkish drop spindle

Gorgeous caramel coloured alpaca fleece for spinning on the drop spindle

Gorgeous caramel coloured alpaca fleece for spinning on the drop spindle

Even lovelier kid alpaca silvery grey/white fleece for spinning

Even lovelier kid alpaca silvery grey/white fleece for spinning

Steve has been taking SO many photos since he got his new (baby) camera. Here you can see me attempting to eat breakfast whilst being coerced into being a "model" for his practice ;)

Steve has been taking SO many photos since he got his new (baby) camera. Here you can see me attempting to eat breakfast whilst being coerced into being a “model” for his practice 😉

New Years Day arrived and we decided to spend it crafting. I hammered out bottle caps to make beer bottle bunting and a beer bottle lamp shade for Stevie-boys music room and researched how to nailbind. Nailbinding is an ancient Nordic craft that preceded knitting and crochet that the Vikings used to make clothing. It involves using a “nal” or a kind of long needle made out of bone or wood. Steve knocked me up a “nal” and I am ready to go once I start spinning my alpaca wool…alpaca wool?! Yes, Stewart and Kelsey came out and gifted me 2 enormous garbage bags of the most beautiful caramel and silvery white alpaca fleece for me to learn how to spin on. Stevie-boy had made me a drop spindle and they were out hunting for more wool for Kelsey as she is learning to spin on a drop spindle as well and thought that they might get me some as well. MUCHO happy guys :).  Now I just need to find the time to get started!

It always looks like Steve is doing all of the work around here but someone has to duck away to take the photos! ;)

It always looks like Steve is doing all of the work around here but someone has to duck away to take the photos! 😉

After hauling the 2 long sections of garden bed up the hill and into Sanctuary we hammered small star picket stakes into the ground in front of the bed to keep it in place when we loaded it up with soil

After hauling the 2 long sections of garden bed up the hill and into Sanctuary we hammered small star picket stakes into the ground in front of the bed to keep it in place when we loaded it up with soil

Looking back from the mountain of manure and oak leaves to the site where the new garden bed was being built

Looking back from the mountain of manure and oak leaves to the site where the new garden bed was being built

We then decided to create the next 2 gardens from the great and mighty mountain of aged horse poo and rotted oak leaves. Steve and I cobbled together  a garden bed out of old half rounds that we had found on the property and bits of rubbish timber that we had been storing for “a rainy day” (or a garden bed 😉 ). We then used it as a sort of terrace in Sanctuary. Steve headed off to do the shopping on Monday and I shoveled the second of the two new garden beds into place. We had generated some “char” in a recent burn off of branches (after we cut off any usable wood). I wouldn’t call it “biochar” as it wasn’t produced properly but most of the pile was charcoal so “char” it is and I am sure it will be good for the garden so after it cooled down I hauled it up to Sanctuary in a wheelbarrow and tipped it onto the ground before I dug the second of the new beds.

My wheelbarrow of "char". Nothing gets wasted around here!

My wheelbarrow of “char”. Nothing gets wasted around here!

Earl "helping" in Sanctuary

Earl “helping” in Sanctuary

Earl helping some more...

Earl helping some more…

Steve noticed this really wonderful way to make a good water hand pump out of PVC pipe and a few easy to get hold of cheap items (to make the valves) on Facebook the other day. I will share it here with you all as you can never have enough hats, bags and good cheap water pumps!…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaho7JSVS1I 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG6own141z0&feature=youtube_gdata_player 

The first video shows you how to make the pump and the second one shows you how to make the one way valves. The pump can be used to pump water or air. I am going to make 4 of them, one for each limb 😉

King Earl of the dung heap ;)

King Earl of the dung heap 😉

The sweet potato cuttings that I got from our friend Jenny's house last Friday. I read that the best way to grow sweet potatoes was by cuttings.

The sweet potato cuttings that I got from our friend Jenny’s house last Friday. I read that the best way to grow sweet potatoes was by cuttings.

I am in awe at how quickly these roots grew. This was 3 days after I put them into some water in the kitchen and just before I planted them out

I am in awe at how quickly these roots grew. This was 3 days after I put them into some water in the kitchen and just before I planted them out

My new large bench and a potted up cucamelon for a friend

My new large bench and a potted up cucamelon for a friend

Yesterday Steve and I pruned our 7 little grape vines that I grew from cuttings from our muscat grape vine in the city. We researched how to do it and we staked them up so that next year we can start training them to grow on a trellis. Steve made me a lovely big bench to use in Sanctuary and then knocked up another one because I said that I could carry the bench around with me and sit down and water (and Don Burke thought that HE was the lazy gardener! 😉 ) and now I don’t even have to lug the bench around :). It got pretty hot then so we hunkered down inside and spent the rest of the day relaxing. Today has been spent out in the garden potting up my 10 long suffering artichoke babies that desperately needed moving to bigger pots to grow on before I plant them out in the main garden. I also planted out my cucamelon/mouse melon (Melothria scabra)  babies (and potted one up to give to a friend). I was sent the seed by the wonderful Bev from Foodnstuff on the mainland after lamenting that I would never find the seed here in Tasmania. I then found out that my son was growing cucamelons as well. When asking him where he got his seed he said “Bunnings”…oh well! 😉 I had 19 of them germinate and gave 8 of them away so I have 11 left. That was my mathematics lesson for the day folks! (Did I pass?) If you would like to know more about this most interesting of fruits/vegetables (one of the two 😉 ) here is an interesting link that also contains a recipe for how to preserve them…

http://homegrown-revolution.co.uk/savoury-fruit/growing-cucamelons/

The top new garden planted out with potatoes that had gone to seed and sweet potato cuttings (that you can't see but that are already growing leaves :) )

The top new garden planted out with potatoes that had gone to seed and sweet potato cuttings (that you can’t see but that are already growing leaves 🙂 )

The new garden bed planted out with all kinds of seedlings from the glasshouse. I have since added basil and bergamot seedlings to the mix.

The new garden bed planted out with all kinds of seedlings from the glasshouse. I have since added basil and bergamot seedlings to the mix.

The second new garden bed is very long. I didn't have enough manure/oak leaf mix to fill it all so the last bit is now my new compost heap where I will create my own soil for another garden. I love the possibilities of gardening :)

The second new garden bed is very long. I didn’t have enough manure/oak leaf mix to fill it all so the last bit is now my new compost heap where I will create my own soil for another garden. I love the possibilities of gardening 🙂

I also planted out basil, bergamot and some chilli’s that had been languishing in with the artichokes as now we have room to plant them. I had already planted out eggplants, tomatoes, tomatillos and capsicum plants. I am not really bothered that it’s a bit late for them, I just didn’t want to waste them in the glasshouse and now they at least have a chance to grow out in the sunshine. Steve and I often walk our dogs over in Beaconsfield, a small town about  10 minutes away from here and on one of our walks we noticed an old cast iron bath out the back of the local council buildings. We kept seeing it on our walks and so I decided to phone up council and ask if we could have it. I got a phone call back today to say that I could pick it up whenever I wanted it and so Sanctuary is just about to get a nice pond. I have been lusting after a bath ever since Bev from the amazingly informative permaculture blog “Foodnstuff” posted about storing water in the garden in non-conventional (and cheap) ways…

https://foodnstuff.wordpress.com/2014/10/10/storing-water-for-the-garden/

Can you see one of your baby pepino's in the jungle that is Sanctuary Bev? ;)

Can you see one of your baby pepino’s in the jungle that is Sanctuary Bev? 😉

Towering 8ft tall Jerusalem artichokes dwarfing rhubarb that has gone to seed and raspberries in a compost heap

Towering 8ft tall Jerusalem artichokes dwarfing rhubarb that has gone to seed and raspberries in a compost heap

Potted up artichoke babies and one of the chaotic garden beds that forms the bulk of Sanctuary

Potted up artichoke babies and one of the chaotic garden beds that forms the bulk of Sanctuary

My little tiny loquat seedlings that I dug up from the road verge last year are growing like crazy now that I have planted them out inside the new dog compound. Nothing touches them and the fruit is delicious :)

My little tiny loquat seedlings that I dug up from the road verge last year are growing like crazy now that I have planted them out inside the new dog compound. Nothing touches them and the fruit is delicious 🙂

Cucamelons ready to plant out

Cucamelons ready to plant out

The new cucamelon enclosure. Apparently they can grow to 3 metres high so maybe I should have planned a bit better but they are over in the top of Sanctuary where not much else exists so if they want to invade Poland they can knock themselves out ;)

The new cucamelon enclosure. Apparently they can grow to 3 metres high so maybe I should have planned a bit better but they are over in the top of Sanctuary where not much else exists so if they want to invade Poland they can knock themselves out 😉

A regular sweet cherry and a sour cherry that our friend Jenny gave to us. She can't plant them on her property as the possums would simply hoover them down. Now that we have an Earl protected (at all hours of the day) inner sanctum compound, these cherries should grow and flourish free from possum invasion

A regular sweet cherry and a sour cherry that our friend Jenny gave to us. She can’t plant them on her property as the possums would simply hoover them down. Now that we have an Earl protected (at all hours of the day) inner sanctum compound, these cherries should grow and flourish free from possum invasion

So we have been busy as beavers here in sunny Sidmouth on Serendipity Farm. Hopefully you have all had a most excellent first week of the new year. We have certainly started out as we mean to finish up. I have even been writing things in my new day to day diary to make sure that I don’t forget things (that probably won’t even last till February but whatchagonnadoeh? 😉 ). I am tired but in a good way and very excited by all of the different things that we are contemplating this year. Have a great week everyone until we get together again next Wednesday to have a chat and a cuppa and catch up where we left off 🙂

Earl had a hard night on the bottle ;)

Earl had a hard night on the bottle 😉

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! 🙂

 

The day that Earl just missed out on world domination because of my need to (hoard) Collect…

Hi All,

Today was going to be Earl’s day to communicate with you all. Ms Pauline and I have been hosting an intercontinental (sounds grand but technically true…) dog telepathy experiment where Earl has been teaching dear little Sir Siddy the 1st how to be a “propr dorg”. Earl may be lacking in the vernacular but what he lacks in a literary sense, he more than makes up for in animal cunning and admirable doggy brilliance. He has managed to invade Sir Siddy’s tiny headspace and teach him to climb up on Ms Pauline’s table by cross Tasman telepathy. I shudder to think how much further Earl’s mind powers could reach (and the litigation that we could possibly be facing should he try a bit harder…) Thank GOODNESS something else more pressing came up that stopped me from channelling Earl’s nefarious desires but he has a little message for you all that I will translate for you (unpaid slave, drag toy and translator that I am…)

Earl (great master of all that he surveys…)

Earl (great master of all that he surveys…)

“Gdai huminz. Aye em url. Aye em a dorg. Aye done eweshally torg to peepl bud aye godda ged maye messij herd.

Aye av disayedid thad fore yur owne gud, aye em goin tu ave tu tek ova. Yor guvmints ar nod doin aye gud jorb. Aye, url,  wull tichm howe tu rool th worl. Aye rekn aye cood du bedda.

Vowd fore url  ine yor negs alecshunz an aye wull cee yu ride. Wee dorgs juz won ay far gow. Yooz yumanz ave stuvved thingz ub an wee dorgs ar gonna figz id.

Iv u vode fore mi ina alecshunz, aye wull led yu slip ina maye bigga bede wiv mee ana eed frome maye boll (arvda aye finich wiv id ov corz). Mee un suddi gonna bee thee bozz frum nowe orn sow yu hadz bedda joy nub wiv uz ore elze”.

Sygned URL

"were iz maye dinna wumin…"

“were iz maye dinna wumin…”

Wod ewe meen yor gorn awn strige?

“Wod ewe meen yor gorn awn strige?”

Translation: “Good-day fine human specimens. I am Earl (the great). I am a truly magnificent dog. I don’t usually lower myself to communicate with you lowly specimens however I have finished licking my left testicle and have a few minutes to spare before I start licking my right and so I will deign to point my vocabulary in your general direction.

I have decided that for your own good, I am going to relieve you of your worldly control. Your world leaders are not doing a good job. I, Earl (the great…did I mention that I was GREAT) will teach them how to truly rule the world. I think that I could do much better.

Vote for me in your next elections and I will make sure that you don’t suffer to much in the ensuing aftermath. We dogs are tired of being second class citizens, of being forced to live outside in the cold, eat stale dog biscuits and drink from algae lined bowls. We are tired of being the forgotten ones that guard your house, listen to all of your woes, comfort you when you are depressed and NEVER get enough

  1. Walks
  2. Food
  3. Attention
  4. Couch space
  5. Room in the bed

And so it is with great intentions that I, Earl (THE GREAT AND MIGHTY) am going to take over. If you choose to vote for me I will consider you a friend. I will allow you to sleep in my big bed and eat from my personal bowl (after I have finished with it, of COURSE). Sir Sidney Dog the First and I are going to take over. He is going to be my henchman and I have been training him up specifically for the purpose. He might be small and hairy but he is eager to please and that’s all you need for a willing henchman…a nice young brain ready for planting my world domination seed in. The first of many…

If you are not for us, you are against us. Be warned

Signed Earl (THE GREAT AND MIGHTY RULER OF THE WORLD, LORD OF ALL THAT HE SURVEYS)

 

One of the (freeloading cheese hog) grey shrike thrushes that come for small cheese cubes on the windowsill

One of the (freeloading cheese hog) grey shrike thrushes that come for small cheese cubes on the windowsill

Another (slightly bigger) cheese hog pinching cheese sandwiches. One of the resident Currawongs helping himself…

Another (slightly bigger) cheese hog pinching cheese sandwiches. One of the resident Currawongs helping himself…

Yet another freeloader. This one was after something in the back yard. "NOT wise little parrot, you are walking into the lair of the beast!"

Yet another freeloader. This one was after something in the back yard. “NOT wise little parrot, you are walking into the lair of the beast!”

We stopped the possums! :)

We stopped the possums in Sanctuary! 🙂 This silverbeet is one of my indicators. The possums scoffed all of the silverbeet down to nubs and if there are leaves, there are NO possums 🙂

Grape vines sprouting inside Sanctuary

Grape vines sprouting inside Sanctuary

Loquats that will be planted out inside the new enclosure to protect them from wallabies

Loquats that will be planted out inside the new enclosure to protect them from wallabies

A very happy looking little dwarf Valencia orange

A very happy looking little dwarf Valencia orange

An equally as happy lemonade lemon tree :)

An equally as happy lemonade lemon tree 🙂 Looks like a resident rock has come to have a chin wag 😉

Peach futures. Might actually get some this year as we purposefully included this small badly possum mangled orchard INSIDE the dogs new compound parameters so that Earl can protect his patch and we can maybe get some fruit this year :)

Peach futures. Might actually get some this year as we purposefully included this small badly possum mangled orchard INSIDE the dogs new compound parameters so that Earl can protect his patch and we can maybe get some fruit this year 🙂

 

What is the difference between “collecting” and “hoarding”? I ask this of you, my dear constant readers, as moderators to my closeted hermitage. You, who are out there in the “real world”, are obviously in the know. I am beseeching you to “please asplain” because there is a very fine line between the two as far as I can ascertain. I mention this (and thus nip Earl’s push for world domination one continent at a time, most swiftly, in the bud…) because I was trawling my RSS Feed Reader this morning. Nothing new there. I can be found there most mornings between the hours where I am not actively answering emails and commenting on my own blog and the hour when I have to wake Stevie-boy up from his somnolence. I have a comfortable 116 quality blogs nested tastily on top of each other like a most delicious sandwich full of highly flavoured condiments firmly scrunched in the middle of the best damned sourdough you ever tasted. This is where narf gets to play. It’s where my desire to explore my kind of food in all its heady and often lusty delights. Everything else tends to be crafty, wordy or positively barmy (if you are a dear constant reader and I follow your blog you KNOW which genre you fit into 😉 ).

 

ACTUAL work being done on Serendipity farm that doesn't involve a computer. The start of the dogs compound extension

ACTUAL work being done on Serendipity farm that doesn’t involve a computer. The start of the dogs compound extension

When people wonder why we are loath to dig holes to plant things on Serendipity Farm, here's why…this is our "soil profile"

When people wonder why we are loath to dig holes to plant things on Serendipity Farm, here’s why…this is our “soil profile” The yellow things in that soil are rocks… LOTS of rocks…sigh…

This is the "soil" that Steve just dug out of that hole. Note the predominate soil componant "rocks". And THAT is why talking about digging holes brings us out into a cold sweat! Despite sweating a LOT Steve managed to dig 4 holes today before he was rained out. He has never been happier to see rain ;)

This is the “soil” that Steve just dug out of that hole. Note the predominate soil componant “rocks”. And THAT is why talking about digging holes brings us out into a cold sweat! Despite sweating a LOT Steve managed to dig 4 holes today before he was rained out. He has never been happier to see rain 😉

The olive tree that dad planted is growing nicely now that it has established itself

The olive tree that dad planted is growing nicely now that it has established itself

Earl and Bezial will gain a LOT of new ground in this extension. That little cream coloured shed is going to be on the boundary of the extension and WAY back near the house (in the distance in this shot) is where the boys are confined to at the moment. Earl will spend the first week, when it's completed,  patrolling 24/7 ;)

Earl and Bezial will gain a LOT of new ground in this extension. That little cream coloured shed is going to be on the boundary of the extension and WAY back near the house (in the distance in this shot) is where the boys are confined to at the moment. Earl will spend the first week, when it’s completed, patrolling 24/7 😉

Our echiums flowered for the first time this year :)

Our echiums flowered for the first time this year 🙂

Amazingly good plants to grow as they adore rough conditions and will grow in wastelands and bees love them

Amazingly good plants to grow as they adore rough conditions and will grow in wastelands and bees love them

So what has pushed Earl out of world domination mode and narf back squarely into numero uno spot on the blog this week? Well, I don’t only follow blogs and read them AND comment on them, I also collect the best recipes that make me squeal with delight and I Pin them on my Pinterest boards as well. I want the whole world to be able to find these gorgeous posts. I want everyone to squeal with delight like I do and thus, I share. A small aside…because I have quite a large selection of pins on my Pinterest boards (…ahem*…) my early morning emails tend to be littered with “Mr/Mrs “X” has followed one (or more) of your boards…” I usually just send the notifications to the trash as I can see who has followed me via Pinterest however this morning I had a few spare blissful moments (no studies…’WOOT!” 🙂 ) and so I took a little look at the strange and convoluted list of names that had tumbled into my inbox. You can tell the cut of my Pinterest jib by the strange and wonderful people that rock up in my inbox, all kinds of delicious crazy folk all wanting a slice of narf’s Pinterest action. All I can say is “knock yourselves out guys!” I love this social media sharing thing. I love sharing in general and this is on a worldwide scale of great (addiction) happiness :). So it was with great interest that I noticed that none other than “Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School” had followed one of my Pinterest boards! I went and checked (people get aspirations in social media and think that they are Napoléon 😉 ) but this looks legit and I think I just had a brush with gustatory royalty! “SQUEE!”

 

Brigadoon!

Brigadoon!

Steve caught this lovely shot of the Tamar Cruiser on it's languid journey up the river and back into Launceston. It turns around right at the front of our gate

Steve caught this lovely shot of the Tamar Cruiser on it’s languid journey up the river and back into Launceston. It turns around right at the front of our gate

Steve took this shot as he was walking back to the gate after taking the last shot. I am posting it for the sake of honesty rather than love for this image. That expanded derriere is on the wane as I have returned to the wagon and am riding it like sea-biscuit ;)

Steve took this shot as he was walking back to the gate after taking the last shot. I am posting it for the sake of honesty rather than love for this image. That expanded derriere is on the wane as I have returned to the wagon and am riding it like sea-biscuit 😉

I am getting to the point slowly folks, patience is a virtue you know (one that you really need to cultivate if you are going to stick around here and get the actual gist of what I am on about 😉 )! So after squealing on the inside (it was 3am, a “no squealing zone exists between 3am and 7am on Serendipity Farm…) I headed off to my RSS Feed Reader to check out my nice tidy SMALL list of blog posts. I love being able to languidly read a blog post and comment with time to spare thought to the efforts of the person who has posted. I hate…I HATE “generic” blog comments. They smack of “have a nice day…”and a complete lack of original thought or intent. People slave for hours over blog posts, days even! We can at least do them the service of taking their hard work and giving it the attention and admiration that it deserves. If you don’t like it, don’t comment. If it makes you hot under the collar, best not to comment either. Save comments for genuine admiration methinks, it makes for an all-round better blogging world.

 

Isn't this pretty? Forget-me-not-farm! ;)

Isn’t this pretty? Forget-me-not-farm! 😉

Stevie-boy being manly with a chainsaw

Stevie-boy being manly with a chainsaw and gumboots

This is a multitasked image. It involves showing you that we have a small oak tree growing in my immediate vicinity and that Stevie-boy is up chopping wood with the car. I consider my multitasking a success ;)

This is a multitasked image. It involves showing you that we have a small oak tree growing in my immediate vicinity and that Stevie-boy is up chopping wood with the car. I consider my multitasking a success 😉

 

As I have already mentioned, (probably twice, I am getting on you know 😉 ) I tend to save recipes in word documents and pdf’s. I love pdf’s so much that I have a pdf creator that I turn blog posts into pdf’s with in short shift. Any that I can’t access this way (you clever minxes…) and I try the good old fashioned “copy” and “paste” way. I have several other ways to access tricky blog posts whose posters are MOST insistent that we can’t save but they are my secrets. I wouldn’t want them catching on and making it even harder ;). Seriously folks, why on EARTH would you put a recipe on the internet if you didn’t want other people falling in love with it and wanting to make it? I realise that there are many nefarious people out there pinching images, and indeed entire blog posts, and waving them around as if they were their own. I just want to be able to save and make the recipe should I want to and so I feel no compunctions about pilfering with impunity. “The buck (recipe) stops HERE” and goes no further.

 

This camellia bush will stay covered in flowers for quite some time now

This camellia bush will stay covered in flowers for quite some time now

Some of dad's orchids flowering

Some of dad’s orchids flowering

Up close and beautiful. We give these orchids absolutely nothing and they give us these lovely flowers every single year

Up close and beautiful. We give these orchids absolutely nothing and they give us these lovely flowers every single year

More orchids that I bought for $3 a pot from a plant stand on election day earlier in the year.

More orchids that I bought for $3 a pot from a plant stand on election day earlier in the year.

Check out the size of these cyclamen leaves down in the jungle area of Serendipity Farm. They must love it down there as they are back every year and getting spreading

Check out the size of these cyclamen leaves down in the jungle area of Serendipity Farm. They must love it down there as they are back every year and  spreading

Dad's old bbq down at the bottom of the property

Dad’s old bbq down at the bottom of the property

Steve, Earl and Bezial walking back up to the house

Steve, Earl and Bezial walking back up to the house

Our "soil". Frogs would love to live on "soil" like this!

Our “soil”. Frogs would love to live on “soil” like this!

So (still getting to the point…) I was saving a particularly “SQUEElicious” blog post this morning and I realised that my recipe folder was in a bit of a mess. A bit of a SERIOUS mess. I had been dumping pdf’s in the wrong place and my list of word docs was starting to alarm even me who is immune to enormous quantities of just about anything and so I started tidying up a bit… and that was when I realised that maybe most people don’t have 372 recipe pdf’s stored on their PC. Maybe, just maybe “normal” people don’t have 3006 word document recipes stored their either? So I finally get to my point… “When does collecting become hoarding and what is the difference?” My enormous hoard of stored recipes is just the tip of the ice burg. I have several hard-drives and CD’s full of stored recipes. I am NEVER going to make all of those recipes but I am compelled (COMPELLED I tell you!) to (hoard) collect them.

 

You can't get a good idea of how big this pot actually is but these are red raspberry canes in a VERY big pot that took Steve and I to haul it into his shed

You can’t get a good idea of how big this pot actually is but these are red raspberry canes in a VERY big pot that took Steve and I to haul it into his shed

Me pathetically trying to show you how big this pot is AND take a photo at the same time

Me pathetically trying to show you how big this pot is AND take a photo at the same time (more red raspberry canes)

Seedlings that need to be planted out before Jenny gets here for her visit tomorrow ;)

Seedlings that need to be planted out before Jenny gets here for her visit tomorrow 😉

I finally found a way to stop the wallabies from nibbling off my artichokes. I put three tyres around the base and look at it now, it's almost 2 metres tall! :)

I finally found a way to stop the wallabies from nibbling off my artichokes. I put three tyres around the base and look at it now, it’s almost 2 metres tall! 🙂

"Pinkbells" nothing blue about these babies ;)

“Pinkbells” nothing blue about these babies 😉

My craft folders and my “Interesting things” folders are much more sedate however my recipe folders are full to overflowing with the most awesome and phantasmagorical things. I am not going to stop saving (hoarding) recipes. Is there hope for me? We have just finished off our studies. Truly finished them off for the next 2 weeks at least and there is the possibility that if the rain ever stops, we can get out into Sanctuary and we can facilitate change! We just planted out 4 citrus trees that my wonderful horticultural mate Jenny gave us because the possums simply wouldn’t give up on the poor things and they had to be segregated. We learned from her lesson and planted them inside Sanctuary. I have carob trees, nut trees, loquat trees, avocado trees, all KINDS of trees that need planting out ASAP and we have a dog compound to run up before the ground sets to purest porcelain all over again. We have “outside” possibilities and now, we have “outside” abilities to go with them!

This little quince tree is going to be planted out tomorrow as Steve will be digging holes in the immediate vicinity (praying for rain all the time ;) ) so he may as well dig me another one to plant my little quince tree in :)

This little quince tree is going to be planted out tomorrow as Steve will be digging holes in the immediate vicinity (praying for rain all the time 😉 ) so he may as well dig me another one to plant my little quince tree in 🙂 That blue tarp is covering up a mountain of oak leaf mould

The last of our dry wood stash. Just about time to let Brunhilda go out for the next 6 months for a most well deserved rest after being on duty 24/7 since mid April "Well done good and faithful friend" :)

The last of our dry wood stash under the deck. Just about time to let Brunhilda go out for the next 6 months for a most well deserved rest after being on duty 24/7 since mid April “Well done good and faithful friend” 🙂

Yellow climbing roses. The only kind that possums don't like.

Yellow climbing roses. The only kind that possums don’t like.

Steve took this lovely shot of one of the blueberries budding up.

Steve took this lovely shot of one of the blueberries budding up.

I have a list of gorgeousness that I want to accomplish before the next blog post (and document with my trusty Fujipix for your mental alacrity and clarity) including

  • Go and pick up at least 2 trailer loads of seaweed for top dressing the garden
  • Fork and ameliorate the existing garden beds (and try to remember what was planted where last year underneath the seething mass of pumpkins in a vain attempt to “rotate my crops”) and add in a healthy dose of aged horse manure and oak leaf mould
  • Plant out all kinds of seeds and get a system in place for succession planting
  • Plant out seedlings that I was given (better do that today as Jenny is visiting tomorrow! Come to think of it, better process all of those beetroot that she gave me as well. She WILL check 😉 ) by Jenny including parsley, leeks, brassicas (no idea which as she just sprinkled them on the soil to teach me a horticultural lesson 😉 ) and some flowery thing that she gave me to add to the mix. We swapped a lot of rare pines that we just can’t plant here that made her feel almost as happy as we did when we bought them. We introduced Jenny to pine addiction and she is gleefully happy to be the recipient of our pine lust. She has 50 acres to populate and a few stray pines would be most welcome
  • Shore up our blueberries (that are budding up alarmingly) in the pile of horse manure in front of the deck for this year. Too late to find a spot for them in Sanctuary but next year they will get a forever home inside. This year we will need to protect them!
  • Plant out all of the raspberry canes that Jenny gave us that are currently up to their tender little armpits in that big pile of horse manure and leaves. It appears that’s our cutting bed ;). So far nothing has chosen to eat them but why would it? We feed everything that hangs around out the front of the house cheese sandwiches and they haven’t got time to eat lowly green things any more 😉

 

"Sigh...if you MUST take photos of me at least take them from my best side..."

“Sigh…if you MUST take photos of me at least take them from my best side…”

This world domination is NOTHING to do with me! I am a peace loving hippy dog who walks amongst the cows and chickens and (disgusting) cats without blinking an eyelid. I refuse to be blamed for any of this!"

“This world domination push is NOTHING to do with me! I am a peace loving hippy dog who walks amongst the cows and chickens and (disgusting) cats without blinking an eyelid. I refuse to be blamed for any of this!”

And so you have it, dear constant readers. Narf is BACK! I get to move, to stretch and to dig. I get to choose and to think and to pot and to exercise (everything that doesn’t get strained in my early morning walks…) and my poor addled study stuffed mind can have a decent rest and most well deserved holiday. I am in the zone AND happy to be here :). See you all next week and let’s just see just how much of that list we actually accomplish eh? 😉

 

A walk in the black forest

Hi All

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pCKtk9cD4M

aka “Eine Schwarzwaldfahrt” (hee-hee 😉 )

Can’t tell you why I love this song, part of it is to do with the Pirate radio station episode of The Goodies where this is the only record that they have for their radio station and part of it might be my German ancestry (and the toilet humour I just discovered in the German translation) but maybe it just reminds me of my parents playing it way back when I was a little kid…who knows, but all I know is that I really love this song 🙂

No philosophy today, just a lot of wandering around and looking at possibilities on Serendipity Farm. As city slickers (well “town slickers” really…) Steve and I were able to take advantage of the low cost of education here in Tasmania to study horticulture however moving to Serendipity Farm added a whole new world to our horticultural endeavours up to this point. Suddenly our pots of trees and our choices of plants that gave us pleasure became more of a liability than an asset when we had to water and repot them on a regular basis and a new awareness of what the land actually needs started to rise up inside us. I knew that I wanted to use permaculture principles on Serendipity Farm. I wanted to energy cycle and plan with nature’s eyes and follow in the footsteps of Bill Mollison and his cohorts along with amazing visionaries like Masanobu Fukuoka who had a world vision that encompassed a complete overhaul of industrial practices and a return to agricultural practices that work in harmony with nature.

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My custom pumpkin sling and my yacon that has sent out another 3 shoots and is threatening to take over Serendipity Farm

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For those of my dear constant readers who like a veggie garden fix every week

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And here is another one. The tall plant on the right is the yacon

I have been collating information like a crazy person. I have hard drives cram packed to the gills with word documents, PDF’s and all sorts of information but much like my cookbooks, I never look at them. So where is an ex-control freak going to start out on her journey to “find” the real epicentre and ethos of Serendipity Farm? She is going to head out and watch. And that’s what today’s post is about folks…heading out and seeing what Serendipity Farm actually “Is” at the moment and what nature appears to be doing all by herself to heal the problems.

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This is what my experimental compost heap looks like now…what is that over in the corner?

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AHA! That would be The Garden Chook! The whole time I was attempting to take her picture she was scooting up and down the perimeter wall and clucking and squawking like crazy…”there are worse things than narf7’s you stupid hen!”

Nature HATES bare earth and does her level best to cram pack it with anything to hand which usually eventuates as a whole lot of weed species and a few fast growing nitrogen fixers. This reforestation is called creating a Seral community. The most pressing thing is to cover up the soil thus the weeds are able to proliferate and seed en masse. Small nitrogenous shrubs and trees like wattles and sheoak’s grow in between the weeds and after a little while they provide enough shade for other shrubs and ground covers (usually native) to get a look in. The larger wattles and eucalypts are slowly growing amongst the mix and within a short space of time you are standing in another one of nature’s miracles…a forest. Once the trees start growing they shade out the ground below and the weed species tend to die out aside from the hardiest species but eventually it all evens out. Nature is a great leveller.

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This hen was pining for her sister. I gave her sister to Kelsey (luck of the draw when you have 2 hens to catch and you are lazy and grab the first 2 that are sitting in front of you on the perch as you enter a dark chicken coop…) to join their small chook population and hopefully she is happy now

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Isn’t nature clever? Here you see how nature naturally prunes a cutting back to a growing point. Above this bud the stem has died and eventually the top of this branch will drop off leaving this healthy growing point to take over. Clever isn’t it 🙂

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Just a quick sunshiny image for all of my northern dear constant readers 🙂

Down in the lowest part of Serendipity Farm (we are on a steep slope that leads into the river at the bottom of our property) teatrees thrive where the excess water arrives down from the slopes and has time to soak into the ground. There is actually green grass (albeit sporadic thanks to the wallabies and kangaroos that live down there) growing here even though we haven’t had any proper rain since early December.  We are in the process of working out a series of swales that will contour our property and that will direct and slow the water flow and topsoil that it contains down our steep rocky slopes and that will allow the water to soak into the ground before moving on to the next opportunity to splash a bit of that precious moisture around. We are going to use the remains of the large piles of debris to create swales as well as chopping them up to form hugels that we are going to place around the boundary fence lines of the property and will seed with hawthorns for privacy and native bird and animal habitat. It hasn’t escaped my attention that the only really green and grassy areas on Serendipity Farm at the moment are beneath large piles of debris

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One of the 2 cluckies that were guarding a small pod of delicious chicks that have since been rehoused to safer digs

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All that was left of a mother hen who had 13 babies 😦

I mentioned that we had a quoll in last week’s post. Since we noticed a dead chook in the garden we have lost at least 5 more that we know of, mostly mothers with babies. We have 2 populations of small baby chicks that have been orphaned by quolls attacking their mothers and killing them and coming back to eat as many of the terrified babies as they can catch. It is quite disconcerting to find a tiny chicken head, wings and heart sans the rest of the chick and we have discovered more of them than we would like to even think about. I have had to contain the chooks inside the outside enclosure, herding them up at night and catching all of the orphaned babies and hurling them all into the chicken coop that has a concrete base in order to have at least some of my chickens still there in the morning. Remember that old saying “be careful what you wish for because it might come true?” well wanting less chooks and wondering how we were going to deal with the feral population is no longer a problem. We have mum quoll and a nest of babies polishing them off nicely for us…the only problem is that she isn’t going to head off anywhere until she has eliminated the entire population of chooks…NOT an acceptable option quoll!

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This was taken back in January when there were significantly more pears on the tree but one of these pears is just about ripe and “I” bags it!

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Part of the reason why narf7 hides under the bed and is contemplating a serious drinking habit…

We are on high alert here at the moment. Every time I hear native birds alarm calls I head out to make sure that the quolls aren’t on the move. I thought that they were nocturnal but apparently when they have babies the mother quolls and the babies can be seen during the day as well. I have had the usual escape hens making a quick exit from the outside enclosure as soon as I let them out in the morning but I kind of think if a quoll eats them it might be doing me a favour. Who wants chooks clever enough to get out and hide their eggs, hatch them out and then raise them out in the bush? NOT ME! A smart chook is just one step away from a velociraptor in my books

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We helped our good friend Roxy to complete her online “Responsible Serving of Alcohol” course because she doesn’t have a computer of her own.

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Note while Roxy is “driving” she is sticking with tea…Steve on the other hand is only a passenger and is completely able to drink and backseat drive 😉

I just raced out to see what all the commotion was about as there were hens making their alarm calls all over the place. I headed out prepared to do battle with the quoll, apparently with my bare hands as I didn’t take anything with me, and after wandering around amongst the escapees (2 roosters and a hen) I couldn’t see anything to be alarmed about and when I turned around to head back to the house I noticed that it wasn’t a quoll that had alarmed them, it was a white goshawk that occasionally visits Serendipity Farm. As these magnificent birds are quite rare and wanting to get a good photo of it as it sat in a eucalyptus quite close to the house I slowly slunk into the house and grabbed my trusty camera and headed back outside all the while looking at the tree it had been sitting in. It was gone…I backed up slowly watching the sky and stopped at the end of the deck only to realise that Bezial was getting up from his sunny spot next to me and that there was a nasty smell…bugger…I had trodden in something nefarious :(. I could still see the goshawk circling in the sky but wasn’t able to get a good image for you but I DID get a good shot of my remedy for dog poo on your deck…

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That’s what lavender talcum powder is for isn’t it? 😉

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In the spirit of laziness and complete transparency (well…”some” transparency 😉 ) I bring you narf7 trying to drown her sorrows after discovering a mass slaughter out in the driveway…note the lack of a glass…too depressed to wash up…

Earl and I have been walking with Jan and Mica for a few weeks now and it has certainly made a difference to both dogs. They are calmer and more relaxed and tend to pull us less on our walks now. After our walks together we head back to Jan’s house where the dogs can run around her enormous back yard to their hearts content and by the time I head back home with Earl he is completely and utterly knackered. Earl is a very social boy and loves meeting new dogs but he has a special place for Mica, Jan and now Peter, Jan’s brother. Earl LOVES Peter. I think that Earl would move in with Jan and Peter if he had half a chance but alas, you are stuck with the hillbilly Pimblett’s Earl, such is your lot 😉

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Most of this lunch was grown by Roxy 🙂

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Apparently having calzones for tea brings out Steve’s creative side

We had a tiny 15 minute thunderstorm this morning that was punctuated by a 5 minute rain event. I have been waiting for rain for SO long now it was a bit of an anticlimax but never let it be said that narf7 isn’t grateful. I would just like to be a whole lot MORE grateful is all. When Steve and I made the decision 3 nights ago to bundle up every chicken on Serendipity Farm in order to save their lives we didn’t realise what we were setting ourselves up for. We headed out with a torch and our determination. We had to wait till dusk because our feral community (like a seral community only less useful…) of chooks is very wary and we had to work under the cover of dark. One by one we found them, perched on various fences, structures and underneath shrubs and one by one we hauled their indignant squawking carcasses back to the chook coop and hurled them into safety. Each and every chick was hunted down and grabbed and tossed in to join the rest. The first 3 surviving chicks from the very first mother hen massacre that survived a second night where their 4 brothers and sisters were picked off and dismembered one by one were hiding under a blackberry shrub and Steve and I managed to grab them with blackberry thorns to remind us of our kindness

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What happens when you mix nutritional yeast flakes, tahini, miso paste, a squirt of mustard, a slop of sweet chilli sauce, Massell chicken (vegan) style stock powder and a squirt of lemon juice with some fresh ground pepper and enough water to mix to a smooth paste?

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You get vegan “cheeze” sauce, that’s what you get 🙂

The hardest to get were the roosters who were VERY wary and every time we grabbed one it made the most hideous noises. You would have thought that WE were the quolls the amount of noise that came out of them! We then headed off to grab the clucky chooks and the babies that had hatched out from under them. There were 2 cluckies sitting on one enormous clutch of eggs (cheers chooks… we could have had them!) and half of them had hatched out. With the quoll taking 2 mothers in 2 nights we didn’t want to run the risk of it taking out 2 of our prize layers in one fell swoop so we had to run the gamut of hen pecks to first grab all of the tiny fluffy babies out from under them. As we grabbed them we put them into a box, then Steve grabbed the older Wyandotte who had gone clucky and took her over to the roost and deposited her and then he came back for Pong, Pingus sister who was fiercely pecking me for all she was worth…I grabbed her and carried her to the shed where we had a cage set up ready with hay and food and water for her to stay in overnight with her babies and we placed her inside and released all of the babies into her (angry) care.

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You can see the chicken coop (white door) and to the left of it the amorphous creation known as “The Outside Chook Enclosure” where our chickens are currently languishing while the quoll has free reign of the rest of the property (mutter…mutter…mutter)

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I know I have been running my mouth off against Mr T. Abbot our liberal (what a misnomer of a word eh?) Prime Minister of late but a spy submarine? “REALLY?!” 😉

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The same night I had my wine event, I decided to have an easy tea (easy for someone who is no longer steady on her feet to prepare 😉 )…this is what I ate for my evening meal with a packet of frozen Brussels sprouts and some frozen green beans (steamed) added to the mix. It was quite tasty actually but maybe that is just the wine talking 😉

By this time Steve and I were knackered! We had moved around in ways that middle aged hippies most probably shouldn’t move around in if they don’t want to wake up the next morning with all of the pain inflicted by the uninitiated whence undertaking the Karma Sutra without all of the fun! It was pitch dark when we arrived back inside but we were full of the joy of knowing that the quoll was going to go without its early morning breakfast of tasty plump chook.

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A friends house plans and what Earl thinks of them…

I remembered at the last minute that there was still one hen (that we knew about at the time) that was up near our vegetable garden ensconced in the middle of a pile of dried branches…dried …spiky… painful branches… and so we headed up to save her like the heroes that we are. I managed to grab her but she flapped away and eventually I grabbed her by the legs and managed to calm her down enough to hold her but she was making some terrible noises and I didn’t want to alarm the chooks in the coop any more than they were already alarmed and so I decided to toss her into the veggie garden overnight. The next morning I headed up to water the garden and “The Garden Chook” was sitting in my possum decimated silverbeet bed and ran off squawking when she saw me. She raced off into the pumpkin patch and disappeared. She is being tolerated in the veggie garden until such time as she disgraces herself and digs something up. She has my laziness to thank for her degree of luxury and freedom

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Steve’s new preciouses complete with Windows 8

Well here we are at the end of another post and I haven’t even told you that we have started our new course and that Steve has a new (preciouses) mobile phone to play with. I guess I really should keep something for next week when hopefully we will have contained the quoll and relocated it somewhere where it won’t be imbibing of Serendipity Farm chook flesh in the near future. Have a great week folks. I hope that it is starting to warm up for all of my northern readers and that is starts to cool down (and more importantly RAIN) for my southern friends as well.

Who do you think you are?

Hi Folks

After some recent email conversations with the most delightful Pauline from “The Contented Crafter” where narf7 did her VERY best to alienate and enrage a potential dear friend by likening her to the most (in my eyes) gorgeous Kate Bush much to her chagrin, I started to think about who we think we are vs. who we “actually” are. I got to thinking that we should all take a good look in the mirror and then head over to get someone without a vested interest in their safety, to explain what they see when they look at us. I know that I see someone completely different to the person that everyone else sees because those photos are all LIES! I don’t look like that! Same goes for the voice but that’s another story…

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Kym, Bruce and Stevie-boy looking decidedly feral in his Hong Kong Phooey shirt but note the altogether happy face…”beer makes EVERYTHING good!”

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The same Kym and Bruce but sans Stevie-boy and a narf7 appears to have attached herself to one side of them. No beer though, straight kombucha for this little black narfy duck 🙂

I told Pauline that I had been prancing around the kitchen singing The Police hit song “Roxanne” at the top of my lungs and she expressed a degree of concern for my neighbours that is entirely unwarranted (if you know Frank, you would know what I mean 😉 ) however it did get me to thinking about my obviously incredible singing voice as experienced from inside the middle aged husk of narf7 vs. my “actual” singing voice as experienced by the rest of the world.

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Talking about Pauline, she makes wonderfully artistic mixed media art. This isn’t one of hers but it is similar to her fantastic works of art and I just really loved this saying :). Says it all really

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I have been an entirely spoiled narf7 this week. I received 2 boxes of the most gorgeous dark chocolate covered marzipan from a wonderful fellow blogger in the U.K. who pens the delightful Zeb Bakes. Cheers for the deliciousness Joanna, it didn’t last long but while it did, it most certainly did the trick! 😉

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Bev from The wonderfully enlightening, sustainable and altogether Permaculture soaked blog Foodnstuff sent me this wonderful tome (see girls…I SPELLED IT RIGHT THIS TIME but I am no WAY going back to amend it in back posts 😉 ) it is cram packed to the back gills with wonderful and most sustainable hints, tips and recipes and like most things from New Zealand, it is pragmatic and straight to the point…”No bullshut” here folks!

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And I also received a most unique and wonderfully practical gift from Jess at Rabidlittlehippy who sent me 12 beautifully sewn (not a seam out of place…how does she do that?!!!) produce bags so that I won’t have to put my veggies into plastic bags from now on. I will be able to use these wonderful bags and do my little bit to reduce plastic waste :). I am thinking that I might do some potato printing on the front of them (knowing lazy narf…I will just cut the potato in half and dab it into some ink and make smiley faces on the bags but whatchagonnadoeh? 😉 ) and when anyone asks me where I got them, I am going to direct them to Jess’s site. You had best get that Etsy stall going Jess as the customers are going to be lining up… 🙂

I had to make a voice recording of myself for last year’s course. I had to do this because my lecturer is a sadist who wanted to torture me. I had to listen to myself and hear someone who I didn’t recognise and who made me cringe. Did I really sound like that? I thought I had a rich cultured voice but it turns out I have a decided Aussie twang, I sound like Denise Scott with hay fever and if that’s how I sound when I talk…what on EARTH is my singing voice like?!!! Have I been torturing everyone for too many years than I wish to admit? Was my ex-husband actually right?!!!

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“A vat of carob and buckwheat smoothie and thou (Mr Terry Pratchett) sitting beside me in the wilderness (on the couch)” is pretty much all I need to make narf7 a blissed out little hippy 🙂

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An early morning image of what an 8 litre jar of buckwheat looks like…and eggs…

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What looks to be an uneasy truce between my kombucha on the left and my non-dairy (sesame milk and date paste) kefir on the right…

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One of the (many) benefits of having 2 daughters who are not only excellent cooks, but who like to experiment with Asian cuisines and unusual recipes and ingredients is that the shop owners of the places that they frequent and spend vast amounts of cash in, tend to be most grateful for their patronage…SO grateful in fact, that they give them 2 calendars for the New Year. One for them and one for their mum :). “Cheers Anthony!” If you are ever in downtown Launceston Tasmania and feel in need of some Aloe juice, or you want some Korean bean paste or some fermented beanshoots, you could do a whole lot worse than heading off to Tsing Wah and spending a few of your tourist dollars to support this excellent business 🙂

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This is my new brain. I got tired of relying on the old one to have it let me down again and again and again. I also got tired of trying to sort through all of the scraps of paper with hurried and fervent little notes from my inside self to my outside self scribbled down in unreadable handwriting so I decided “enough was ENOUGH!” and here is my new brain. Contained within shall be neat and most tidy lists of things to do, the order in which I want them done and copious quantities of dates, numbers and other most interesting and important things that I want to keep track of…or…most probably…I will still keep scrawling notes in the dark and leaving them strewn around because that’s what I am used to 😉

Who is that middle aged greying long haired golem impersonator gambolling about waving her liver spots at the camera and attempting to be sued by Denise Scott for impersonating her voice very badly? Is that me? IS THAT ME??!!! If so, why is Steve still here?! What DOES he see in me?! Why on EARTH hasn’t he fled screaming never to darken the gateposts of Serendipity Farm again? I have no idea folks. I get the feeling that we should all be anonymously and secretly videotaped going about our daily business. We should then be sat down and made to watch the results. The puddle of expired ego that results should be scooped up into a pretty bottle and stashed on a shelf at eye level where we can be reminded that sometimes we just aint who we think we are…but for the most part I am…I sing like an angel “ROXANNE!”, I look like a tanned and happy Valkyrie and my voice is strong but pleasant and in NO way contains any form of Aussie drawl…I said IN NO WAY! And we shall speak no more of this alarming and most enlightening of thoughts because my ego is sploshing sadly at me from the shelf next to the phone…sigh…

50 no way

I found this when I was trying to find an image of my daughter Madeline’s mug to share with you…altogether more appropriate for me!

Lol

Then I found this…and quickly became enamoured of it…

I know everything

Anyone who knows me (and many people who don’t) would say that this was the absolutely ideal mug for me 😉

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I LOVE this mug…no pressure! 😉

Oh YEAH

This one is even better! Entirely up to me what “shit” I want to get “done”  and in what order

Where was this mug when I needed it

Oh WHERE was this mug when my kids were refusing to eat their dinner! 😉 That’s enough pilfering humorous mugs for today. I am probably on Amazon’s most wanted list for flogging images (shhhhh!…you never saw it here!)

Its Tuesday suddenly. Where did the rest of the week go? Oh yes THAT’S right…it melted! I am feeling a little melancholy today for some reason and so I have decided to immerse myself in good music and sing my way out of it. I listened to the best of The Killers first and that did the trick. Now I am onto U2 and Mr Bono and I are strangely in tune…in sequence, because I was cutting up the dogs meat and was suddenly struck by a need to pee…I am only ever desperately struck by a need to pee when I am up to my armpits in something nefarious and Mr Bono started to sing “She moves in mysterious ways” and I was, indeed, moving in mysterious ways. Sort of shuffling and hopping like those African Bantu tribes men just before they do that big hop. I wasn’t quite game enough to attempt the big hop and was having enough trouble with the shuffle bit but I had just been reading Wendy who pens Quarter Acre Lifestyle  from over the water’s (New Zealand) post about how the universe rises up to meet you if you are prepared to meet it half way and it made me smile that Mr Bono and I should meet each other half way in order to attempt to make my dear constant readers have a bit of a chuckle on hump day. “Your job here is DONE Mr Bono”…you can go back to your castle or wherever it is that you live with the Dali Lama and Mother Teresa’s ashes content that you were of use today…

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My latest Mr Pratchett novel that I am devouring and savouring slowly because it’s the last one (in my possession) in the Discworld series. I am waiting on the latest novel to be printed in paperback so that I can add it to my collection and savour it at my leisure 🙂

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Proof that I am a shameless hoarder…

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More proof…

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Now you can’t blame me for wanting to hoard that fossil! Nothing like outing yourself for the blogging world to see (but it won’t stop me hoarding 😉 )

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Talking about hoarding…pantry 1…

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Pantry 2…

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And a VERY tidy pantry 3 complete with Earl the wonder dog photobombing the shot 😉

My eldest daughter Madeline turned 26 today. That means that I am the mother of a 26 year old woman. Not only that, but I am also the mother of a 24 year old in April and most shockingly, a 32 year old in that same month. How can that be? Surely I am only 30 myself?! Madeline has a mug that says that “It took me 50 years to look this good” (don’t ask). The sad thing is that in my case it is true! I have been holing up inside ostensibly to reduce my RSS Feed Reader that ate Paris while Kym and Bruce were here visiting but in all honesty I am frankly terrified of what the garden has metastasised into out there. The long wet winter and the sudden onset of heat seems to have awoken the Kraken (blackberry) in a most alarming way and what should be tendrils are giant squid sized branches reaching out to grab the unsuspecting (read narf7 on her way out to the washing line). Anything thicker than my wrist is to be feared and we are just about to transcend that goal. I am doing my best to eat the blackberries young to prevent them from spreading but they have awoken to my plans and have decided to triple fortify themselves AND give the chooks somewhere amazingly impenetrable to lay the few eggs that they feel like laying in between hatching out huge clutches of chicks…I am starting to panic about how focussed and virulent everything that isn’t human has become on Serendipity Farm…

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The ubiquitous garden (triffid) shots that you, my dear constant readers, have come to expect each week…

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As you can see, the garden has taken over the area and is doing whatever it damned well pleases and who am I to argue?

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This photo was an attempt to show you the compost heap experimental garden without actually having to haul my lazy carcass over to the far corner of the garden…did it work? 😉

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Part of the reason why Serendipity Farm is full of asparagus with more growing every year. Most of the existing asparagi (is that the plural?!) are covered in these little red fruits that apparently taste good to birds because they get ingested and the seeds “dumped” all over the place and I, for one, am absolutely delighted! I can’t vouch for Frank but I reckon that’s another tick against my name in his “most despised” list 😉

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Jerusalem artichokes going mental. I will be transplanting them in a better (more protected) area where they will be allowed to spread to their hearts content with no complaints from me!

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Steve’s shed looking suspiciously tidy for once…oh wait a minute…that’s because “I CLEANED IT!” sigh…

“Oh I LOVE this song!” Every time I hear Mr Bono sing “One” it makes me melt…it bleeds deep into me and Mr Bono and I are “one” :). Does that happen to anyone else out there? When you read, watch an amazingly good movie, listen and sing amazing songs do they become part of you? I often find myself dancing around the kitchen twirling like a narfy dervish to the songs that I listen to and infusing like a fine aged cold pressed coffee. MAN I love music :). I was told a story regularly by my Grandmother and my mother about how when my Uncle Wally brought home the Beatles single “Aint She Sweet” that I raced out of the room that I was otherwise occupied in and suddenly started to dance like crazy. I obviously amused them because they recanted that story well into my adulthood. The thing is, I DO love music. It isn’t just “music” it really does become part of me and I can lose myself in it for hours. I can bliss out and completely change my mood if I am feeling grumpy or twitchy (both to be avoided) and I could just listen to music all day and all night if Stevie-boy wasn’t partial to watching crap T.V. and complaining about how loud the music is and how he can’t hear the loggers cutting down the trees or the Mountain men hunting “bars” (yes…I deliberately spelt that wrong…that is how they say it!) over the top of my exemplary singing (he would say “screeching” but what would he know eh?!)

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Prospective olives…

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Prospective Myrtus communis berries…

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Prospective figs

January seems to have lifted up her skirts and is in full pelt to get out of 2014. February is going to be a bit grouchy about having to take over so soon methinks. I am SURE January fudged it a bit and is going AWOL too soon. February will hardly have finished his cup of coffee before he will have to put on his bowler hat and come to the party…it’s just NOT cricket January! Steve turns 49 on Monday and has decided that he and The Mumbly Cumumbus are going to meld this year and so gifts are to be of the fishy persuasion. I don’t mind. Steve has the best fun out pootling around on the water and I am all for him having the best fun in life 🙂 I feel for my daughters who are going to be ferried around the local fishing shop as Steve takes the lead pointing at lures, shiny things, red beads, squidgy little plastic prawns that stink to high heaven and goodness only knows what else in order to amass his “present” from them. It is always an adventure to trail behind Steve. That’s why I will be staying put and “watching the dogs at home” 😉

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3/4’s of Serendipity Farm is covered in agapanthus flowers at the moment

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This is a salvia…it is blue…it is tall…it is pretty…it comes back every year after dying down over winter…if you want to know any more about it you had best Google it because narf7 isn’t going to deprive you of precious time researching (and she can’t be bothered to go look up the name 😉 )

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Another gratuitous flower shot, this time Nigella damascena, one of my imports

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This is the only gazania on Serendipity Farm. Most probably because I love them 😉

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Crocosmia and Feverfew ensuring that the soil doesn’t turn into dust and blow away

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Buddleia davidii or butterfly bush

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Buddleia globosa, a yellow ball shaped version and as you can see, favourite fodder for bees 🙂

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A narfs eye view taken from the newly painted bench where I parked my derierre to read the other day

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Same bench, but a slight swivel of the wrist to the right…

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And lastly, the view behind the bench (and yes…those ARE Christmas lights in the window…thankyou for noticing 😉 )

I have just been outside wandering around aimlessly taking photos for this post so I guess that means that it is “all over red rover” and “finito” and “Arividerci Roma” for another Wednesday. It’s drop dead gorgeous day today on Serendipity Farm. The sky is blue, the trees are (still) green, there is a lovely cool breeze blowing and what a difference to last week! I am revelling in just being alive today and feeling incredibly grateful and thankful for my lot :). Have a fantastic week and see you next week when I will probably be covered in scratches from head to toe because I fully and most DEFINITELY intend on tackling those blackberries…”NO PRISONERS!” 😉

About the best thing a bike could be used for

Finally, I would like it known that this is the absolutely, positively BEST use for a racing bike yet! 😉

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