Wednesday wanderer

Hi All,

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

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

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

The guttering shamed us this week...

The guttering shamed us this week…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The little kaffir lime in it's new forever home

The little kaffir lime in it’s new forever home

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary :)

Nasturtiums that have escaped from Sanctuary 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More perspective to show how steep our block is

More perspective to show how steep our block is

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

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

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

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

Look at how crazy the Jerusalem artichokes are going!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Peek-a-boo Foxglove!"

“Peek-a-boo Foxglove!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(Somewhat) Wordless Wednesday…

Hi All,

 

Today’s blog post is a little bit different than my usual word filled ramble. Today I am going to talk in photos while I give my brain a bit of a rest from the muses endless clatter. Please click on the link at the end of this post to visit an African farmer who has given me pause for thought and great hope with what we are trying to do here in our little patch of paradise…now on, to the not words…

 

Our old lecturer from last year gave Steve this excellent Adobe book when Steve was dropping off our last assessment in the city. Thank you Chris :)

Our old lecturer from last year gave Steve this excellent Adobe book when Steve was dropping off our last assessment in the city. Thank you Chris 🙂

 

Spread rounds of bread dough of your choice with garlic butter...

Spread rounds of bread dough of your choice with garlic butter…

Bake them till golden brown...

Bake them till golden brown…

And serve them with some delicious home made veggie and lentil soup :)

And serve them with some delicious home made veggie and lentil soup 🙂

How to train a dog to use a treadmill...hint...make sure to have a LOT of treats...

How to train a dog to use a treadmill…hint…make sure to have a LOT of treats…

"Seriously? You want me to walk on this?!"

“Seriously? You want me to walk on this?!”

"OH I get a treat? Sign me up!" ;)

“OH I get a treat? Sign me up!” 😉

My little indicator apple tree next to the protected pile of manure to prevent Earl from using it as a ramp to evacuate from the compound

My little indicator apple tree next to the protected pile of manure to prevent Earl from using it as a ramp to evacuate from the compound

I have been keeping myself very busy working hard in the garden. This is an almost extinct pile of earthworm packed horse manure

I have been keeping myself very busy working hard in the garden. This is the almost extinct pile of earthworm packed horse manure prior to me wheeling it up to Sanctuary

And this is a pile of very damp oak leaves just about to be moved into Sanctuary

And this is a pile of very damp oak leaves just about to be moved into Sanctuary

Happy chooks scratching through the remains of the pile and that log selection contains a small oak tree that grew from the debris

Happy chooks scratching through the remains of the pile and that log selection contains a small oak tree that grew from the debris

Acess to Sanctuary via the shed

Acess to Sanctuary via the shed

A big compost pile in the corner now covered in manure and leaves

A big compost pile in the corner now covered in manure and leaves

More manure and leaf piles that are feeding the surrounding citrus trees as well as becoming the beginning of future garden beds in the process. I keep adding buckets of veggie scraps and plant material and dry leaves and the worms and fungus do the rest

More manure and leaf piles that are feeding the surrounding citrus trees as well as becoming the beginning of future garden beds in the process. I keep adding buckets of veggie scraps and plant material and dry leaves and the worms and fungus do the rest

The last of the currant compost piles inside Sanctuary. Earl has claimed this one to roll in...

The last of the current compost piles inside Sanctuary. Earl has claimed this one to roll in…

Happy rhubarb in its forever home surrounded by oak leaf mulch

Happy rhubarb in its forever home surrounded by oak leaf mulch

My transferred Jerusalem artichokes in their new bed where they can grow and expand to their hearts content

My transferred Jerusalem artichokes in their new bed where they can grow and expand to their hearts content

Weeds pulled out of garden beds and sunlight accelerating the growth of seeds that were already in the beds. Lots of free tomatoes, pumpkins and "other" things are growing

Weeds pulled out of garden beds and sunlight accelerating the growth of seeds that were already in the beds. Lots of free tomatoes, pumpkins and “other” things are growing

Curry the male Currawong in mid splash

Curry the male Currawong in mid splash

I managed to save a little honesty plant inside Sanctuary and it has rewarded me by flowering. Now I just need to remove that blackberry that is giving it a hug

I managed to save a little honesty plant inside Sanctuary and it has rewarded me by flowering. Now I just need to remove that blackberry that is giving it a hug

 

We had to redo our new compound gate as the old one was built out of obviously very green treated pine that warped magnificently. This new "Donna Hay" green gate is made out of dry timber and should last the distance

We had to redo our new compound gate as the old one was built out of obviously very green treated pine that warped magnificently. This new “Donna Hay” green gate is made out of dry timber and should last the distance

Steve got tired of my dehydrator being in his music room and made it a new shelf in the laundry

Steve got tired of my dehydrator being in his music room and made it a new shelf in the laundry

Veggie seedlings on Monday

Veggie seedlings on Monday

Veggie seedlings on Wednesday

Veggie seedlings on Wednesday. Growing like weeds 🙂

Looking back outside the glasshouse door you can see a dog sniffing around for the chook that I just saved that was stupid enough to fly into the dog compound

Looking back outside the glasshouse door you can see a dog sniffing around for the chook that I just saved that was stupid enough to fly into the dog compound

My purple artichoke babies :)

My purple artichoke babies 🙂

The other inhabitants of the glasshouse enjoying the sunny weather

The other inhabitants of the glasshouse enjoying the sunny weather

I grow my nut trees from seed I collect on my travels and I obviously have 2 different kinds of walnut here :)

I grow my nut trees from seed I collect on my travels and I obviously have 2 different kinds of walnut here as you can see by the leaf structure 🙂

Look Bev, how your babies have grown! :)

Look Bev, how your babies have grown! 🙂 These are pepino cuttings a good friend sent me and aren’t they healthy little babies. Bev certainly knows how to grow a mean pepino 😉

Even under the potting table is green!

Even under the potting table is green. This is a lemon balm growing out of one of the cracks in the glasshouse concrete floor

The first of the rhododendron blossoms on Serendipity Farm. The surrounding neighbourhood is full of them and we are enjoying basking in their beauty on our early morning dog walks :)

The first of the rhododendron blossoms on Serendipity Farm. The surrounding neighbourhood is full of them and we are enjoying basking in their beauty on our early morning dog walks 🙂

The first of our raspberry futures :)

The first of our raspberry futures 🙂

Wait a minute...isn't this for the dogs? ;)

Wait a minute…isn’t this for the dogs? 😉

Bezial relaxing after a particularly difficult trot around the garden...

Bezial relaxing after a particularly difficult trot around the garden…

My 2 fig cuttings that were bare sticks over winter that are now taller than the fig cuttings that I planted out last year. Ready to be planted out

My 2 fig cuttings that were bare sticks over winter that are now taller than the fig cuttings that I planted out last year. Ready to be planted out

Potato, yacon and "other"patch

Potato, yacon and “other”patch

Zucchini and some form of cabbage or cauliflower seedlings. My friend that gave them to me has no idea which they are ;)

Zucchini and some form of cabbage or cauliflower seedlings. My friend that gave them to me has no idea which they are 😉

That very overgrown area at the back of Sanctuary is just about to become my grape arbour. Who says that compost isn't worth making? This area was where I threw a few buckets of compost last year and look at how much vegetation is growing in this small patch. Compost folks, compost now! :)

That very overgrown area at the back of Sanctuary is just about to become my grape arbour. Who says that compost isn’t worth making? This area was where I threw a few buckets of compost last year and look at how much vegetation is growing in this small patch. Compost folks, compost now! 🙂

This photo was taken standing inside the fence looking back towards the rear compound fence. These trees would have been devastated by the combined efforts of the possums and the wallabies by now but the new compound seems to have given them a much better degree of protection than I would have initially thought. Earl is obviously VERY good at patrolling and marking "his" patch ;)

This photo was taken standing inside the fence looking back towards the rear compound fence. These trees would have been devastated by the combined efforts of the possums and the wallabies by now but the new compound seems to have given them a much better degree of protection than I would have initially thought. Earl is obviously VERY good at patrolling and marking “his” patch 😉

Look at how my little indicator apple has grown! It might just be a rootstock apple but I can graft onto it. Apple futures on Serendipity Farm, I never would have thought it possible :)

Look at how my little indicator apple has grown! It might just be a rootstock apple but I can graft onto it. Apple futures on Serendipity Farm, I never would have thought it possible 🙂

 

http://permaculturenews.org/2014/10/28/glimpse-climate-smart-agriculture-kenya/

Anyone who is struggling with the costs of growing vegetables and gardens in general take heart from Maurice’s story and go and get yourself a bucket full of hope, possibility and enthusiasm from this mans dreams that he turned into realities with his steadfast and most determined actions. He is a credit to penniless people everywhere and a great example of how anyone can do this, you just need to find ways to access cheap/free soil builders. We are just about to pick up 3 trailer loads of grass clippings from Glad’s place next door. Another garden bed inside Sanctuary once they rot down. Its all in the possibilities and in recognising them when they raise their heads 🙂

Last but by no means least…here’s a little pre Halloween image where I become a zombie thanks to Papa Doc Earl…

"BRAINZ!" ;)

“BRAINZ!” 😉

Going to Montana to raise me a crop of dental floss…

Hi All,

As whacked out and strange as he was, I love me a bit of Frank Zappa. Here’s a most poignant discourse about mainstream education that rings most true…

“Schools train people to be ignorant, with style. They give you the equipment that you need to be a functional ignoramus. American schools do not equip you to deal with things like logic; they don’t give you the criteria by which to judge between good and bad in any medium or format; and they prepare you to be a usable victim for military-industrial complex that needs manpower.”

“As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re gonna be alright. But if you go beyond that then you’re gonna have these grave doubts that give you stomach problems, headaches…make you want to go out and do something else. So, I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming out.”

– Frank Zappa

 

Thinking about how next year we might just have to attend TAFE a few days a week and having to get my head around getting back into learning by rote and sitting down and behaving all over again. Not all that used to forced learning and we are quite used to studying when we like these days so this is going to be a difficult situation for this little black duck to bear.

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go :)

Ducky loves fresh water , look at her go 🙂

Ms Pauline http://paulinekingblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/sometimes-i-sits-and-thinks/ has been talking about magic and bringing it back into our lives. This year I am dabbling in my own kind of magic alchemy of seed raising. The process from tiny dormant seed to big beautiful plant of purest green is the stuff that narfs wizardly dreams are made of. I have, prior to now, only bought post magic seeds and beanstalks for my annual garden but this year…THIS YEAR I am working my magic horticultural wand and I am attempting to magically coax life from tiny seeds so I planted out some seedlings. Yes, I did plant okra. I planted it because it is pretty much guaranteed to grow, has pretty flowers that the bees love and predominately because I tried it once and found it lacking. I am the sort that likes to give everything a second try just in case the first try was aberrant so yes…I am growing okra. I am also going to give Roselle’s a go and have planted out some purple artichoke seeds. I know that others are planting out peanuts and I am going to give them a go as well. I am not entirely sure as to how they will go here in farthest flung antipodean Tasmania but even if they fail, they are nitrogen fixing legumes so at least the soil will be better off after planting them even if I don’t get much of a yield. A cover crop with benefits…

Now we have a issue with a Kurrajong …

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

He is getting to cocky and likes cheese to much.

 

Emm cheese

Emm cheese

 

Jan, our friend who is just about to head off to Germany in the next 3 weeks, just gave me a large bag of vegetable, herb and flower seeds. Some of them date back to last century but I am going to give them a go. One of the bags looks like it predates me and is for something called Borecole, an old world name for kale. The manufacturer is one “Chas. Creswell & Co.” from Hobart Tasmania. I am going to give these seeds the old college try. I would love to think that something so old could still be vital and how amazing if they grow! The seed growing bug has me by the throat at the moment. I need to make some more seed raising mix but my last batch saw me institute a huge wooden splinter under my left middle finger nail while I was mixing in the ingredients by hand. It almost reached the quick of my nail and after liberal applications of peroxide to make sure it didn’t get infected after I pulled out the splinter, it has just about healed. I am loath to mix anything by hand till it is completely healed so am working on converting an old blender that we have (and don’t use) to the purpose. We have some amazing “black gold” compost that will be perfect for the job and I need to pick up some coconut coir peat to lighten it up enough to keep the seeds moist and the mix friable.

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

Just haveing a stroll on the deck are we..

I picked up some chives in a pot for $2 from the lady who has a little plant stall at the top of a steep hill. I consider it my reward to buy a plant from the stall for having to walk the dogs up there when they are bored of our usual walks. I have picked up chocolate mint, various day lilies, dahlias etc. from this little stall and you just never know what might appear there on any given day so it’s wise to keep a regular eye on it and for only $2, walking up the hill is almost worthwhile. The weather has been a bit hit and miss of late but now that the glasshouse has been sorted out I can mess about propagating and planting to my heart’s content even if it is pouring down outside.

What happened here?

What happened here?

We have mystic eggs that roll on  there own i think ...

We have mystic eggs that roll on there own i think …

Steve and I finished the doors into Sanctuary through the side of the shed and now we can back the trailer up with loads of horse manure, seaweed, oak leaves and grass clippings and anything else that we can think of that will compost down well to deliver directly into Sanctuary. Prior to this, we would have to wheelbarrow loads of ingredients in through the door which up until yesterday, was a serious obstacle course to walk, let alone push a wheelbarrow into. Our entire property is on a steep incline and whenever it rains, the resulting water flows down with impunity. Part of Sanctuary is a quagmire and the problem is that it was the part where you have to walk in to get inside. We have a heap of spent horse manure inside the new compound area that needs to be transferred into Sanctuary but we simply had no way of delivering it inside aside from in buckets. I love the idea of having horse manure in my garden but shovelling it into buckets and carrying them back and forth up a steep slope? Not so much…

Oii there my eggs you know

Oii there my eggs you know

 

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

Blood moon , it was very cool to watch it

One i took before the blood moon started

One i took before the blood moon started

So we decided to take the bull by the horns and make a concrete path and ramp to bypass the mud. We discovered that the mud is the kind that squelches and sucks wellington boots off and the kind that Earl has to tip-toe over so we are also going to tip a trailer load of larger blue metal stones into the area where we are storing water in Blue barrels so that the mud stays under the rocks and doesn’t take over. Yesterday we decided it was perfect conditions to make the ramp and we spent most of the day shovelling concrete mix, concrete dust and water into a wheelbarrow and wheeling it up a steep incline into Sanctuary where Earl decided that he was both going to escape through the gate as we were shovelling and barrowing and make sure that he left his mark in the concrete. We gave up on trying to stop Earl leaving his paw prints in the concrete but were most steadfast in preventing him from escaping. 1 out of 2 aint bad Earl!

Cool whats this grey mud pa ? is it good for my little paws?

Cool whats this grey mud pa ? is it good for my little paws?

 

Oh i like the feel of this can we do some more grey mud?

Oh i like the feel of this can we do some more grey mud?

Much like everything on Serendipity Farm, the ramp and path were not easy to accomplish but again, like everything else that we have had to work hard to achieve here, it comes with a great sense of accomplishment and our efforts at having to think outside the box, heck, create new boxes to think outside of, are their own reward. I can’t use the path for a few days and by the time I can use it, I will be in the city staying with my daughters for a few days. Steve will be left in charge of the watering, the chook feeding, the chook fetching, one clucky chook needs to be brought inside at the end of the day from her chosen nest out on the property as the quoll is back on the scene and recently killed one of our young point of lay girls who was most unlucky to choose that day to go clucky on a single egg. He also has to walk the dogs, feed himself (but he has lasagne, fish pie and many MANY homemade pasties in the freezer so that’s not too difficult) and anything else that Steve deems important for a few days. By the time you read this I will actually be home from my daughter’s house and I am writing this blog post last Friday in preparation for my fleeing the coop for a few days.

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

Look mud i love the dirt says Earl

 

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

This is why we need a path , we have sludge

 

Steve is outside whipper snipping parts of the garden that have gone completely feral. Some of the periwinkle and forget me nots have almost reached thigh height and taunt us daily as we walk down the driveway to take the dogs for their morning walks. Everything seems to be enjoying the lovely spring weather and taking the opportunity of the regular rain that we have been getting to grow like topsy. We planted out most of our Brachychiton discolor that we grew from seed that we sourced online back in 2009 when we first started to study horticulture and were studying in class. Being an Eastern rainforest species, we had no idea if they would grow this far down in Tasmania but we had a really good germination rate and most of them survived the last 5 years of neglect to be planted out down the driveway last year and all of them are thriving. If you would like to see what a Brachychiton discolor flower is like here is a link…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachychiton_discolor

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

Jan gave Fran a really lovely bread book

We just restrung the hills hoist washing line that appeared to have the original string that it came with about 30 years ago dangling precariously by threads. We discovered plastic coated metal clothes line at Bunnings (Big hardware store) and restrung the top of Sanctuary with it to stop the possum invader hoards and we had some left over that we decided we would fix the poor sagging washing line. There is something incredibly satisfying in accomplishing something with your day. Today we strung up the clothes line, I cut the marauding honeysuckle vine out of a rosemary bush, Steve cut down 2 saplings inside the compound that had the ability to grow into major problems in about 10 years time and I chopped them up and we put them on the compost heap inside Sanctuary. Those gates/doors in the shed that lead into Sanctuary are amazing. Steve whipper snipped part of the garden that was threatening to collapse under the combined weight of the forget-me-nots and the periwinkle and we have been pottering around “doing things” all day. I am just about to see how amazingly explosive my old blender can be when filled with compost and subject to high revvage in order to turn said compost into light friable seed raising mix potentials. I am not too fussed if it blows up as I rarely use the food processor that it is attached to anyway but I need this seed raising mix!

The old raggy line

The old raggy line

 

New line on the washing line

New line on the washing line

I will get back to those packets of seeds that Jan gave to me. There are lots of herb seeds including chives, dill, parsley and peppermint along with caraway which will be most interesting if it germinates. Lots of flower seeds that I will grow in punnets and plant out among the veggies to confuse the pests and a good selection of veggie seedlings including San Marzano tomato seed! Keep your fingers crossed that they germinate even if the use by date might be slightly overdue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I love a good experiment and adventure and living the way that we do is a constant chance for a bit of adventurous experimentation. We have learned to solve all kinds of problems and encounters with pieces of string, flour and salt glue and a dab of spit and polish and we are thinking of calling ourselves “MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2” If Dr Seuss had been around to write another Cat in the Hat opus, I am sure he could have done worse than doing a deal with MacGyver 1 and MacGyver 2.

Shuttering ready for concrete

Shuttering ready for concrete

 

The concrete helper is here ...

The concrete helper is here …

Getting there ..

Getting there ..

A great path now

A great path now

Looking good i think ( i didn't do a trowel finish as we want to be able to grip when its wet)

Looking good i think ( i didn’t do a trowel finish as we want to be able to grip when its wet)

Time to head off and get back into the garden. The dogs would have me believe that it is time for them to be fed but I am thinking there might be a bit of time to prune something, pot something up or at least stand on the deck and plot some kind of garden resurrection. Hopefully you are all up to your ears in something that delights you and makes you smile or like us, up to your armpits in mud and horse manure and smiling politely with your mouth shut because no-one wants horse manure in their teeth 😉

View from the cherry tree to the house

View from the cherry tree to the house

A view from the new compound that the boys love :) Also frans indicator tree

A view from the new compound that the boys love 🙂 Also frans indicator tree an apple that shows us we dont have possums in the new compound

 

A baby oak in its leaves

A baby oak in its leaves

 

And here we are with the cheese bird again :)

And here we are with the cheese bird again 🙂

 

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? 😉

 

Spring has sprung down the Morlock mines

It’s that time again…the time when I need to produce a blog post out of my magicians hat without letting on that I am not a very good magician and there is more lint in my hat (and dog hair and fire ash…) than I would like to let on thanks to weeks on end of studying and twitching and feeling the heady pull of spring but not being able to do all that much about it. Stevie-boy aka Slavemaster General is doing an amazing job of keeping me sitting here focussed on the “task at hand” but I would rather be fishing…or wandering in the garden, or potting things up…or…anything really… just not welded here to the PC…

 

Wouldn't it be lovely to just head out in the Mumbley Cumumbus today Stevie-boy? No? Sigh...

Wouldn’t it be lovely to just head out in the Mumbley Cumumbus today Stevie-boy? No? Sigh…

It looks like we might just have sorted Sanctuary (for the near future anyway) as there is an upturned (and most tempting and alluring) bucket of compost that has been doing its level best to attract possums en masse but that is still in a mounded shape and still full of unnibbled pumpkin seeds as I type this. That shows great promise for veggie gardening futures for Serendipity Farm this year.  I am starting to amass planty goodness from all over the place. I was potting up some pepino cuttings that somehow found their way to Serendipity Farm from a wonderful donor elsewhere in Australia (as much as I am going to say about that aside from THANK YOU my wonderful donor who shall remain anonymous as I want to keep these channels alive and well and under the radar 😉 ). If you don’t know what a pepino is, heres a bit of blurb about them…

http://www.growyourown.info/page145a.html

Chocolate eclairs, part of Stevie-boys Father's Day Indian feast with eclairs

Chocolate eclairs, part of Stevie-boys Father’s Day Indian feast with eclairs

I have a desire to grow all kinds of things on Serendipity Farm. I want to hurl any and everything that will grow in our conditions into the mix. I have a small quince tree in a pot that our local permie guru Gordon gave me a while back that is budding up and demanding to be planted out and I have just the place to plant it picked out. Quinces and figs and olives and various other Mediterranean plants do well here as we have a very similar climate and our native animals are not partial to the way that plants that have gone through natural selection in order to survive tough conditions taste so they tend to get left well alone. I call that a WIN situation and will be planting them out as soon as I can get my hot little hands on them. Mulberries are another tree that do extremely well in our local conditions (long dry summers) and I am going to get a couple of extra trees to plant. If it grows, if they don’t touch it, it is welcome here on Serendipity Farm

This image isn't mine. I just saw it and thought that this would be a wonderful use of an old lamp and a cheese grater to keep them out of landfill

This image isn’t mine. I just saw it and thought that this would be a wonderful use of an old lamp and a cheese grater to keep them out of landfill

More cheese graters used as light fixtures... lubbly jubbly :)

More cheese graters used as light fixtures… lubbly jubbly 🙂

I have learned that growing what you want is not necessarily the best option if you want to stay sane and happy. Learning to grow with your local conditions includes having to deal with your local native animals at the same time. I don’t mind sharing but I do mind wanton destruction and it’s just about time for the possums to set up shop in our poor fruit trees for another year. Possums are fat, quick to anger and very furry…I think I am becoming a possum by default to be honest as I age but that, my dears, is another story! For now I am content to find a way to live with these overtly cute looking but inwardly heinous little critters whereby we both get what we want. I am hoping that possum dung is good for the soil because there is so very much of it around the place here! It looks like we might have an army of them coming out at night and just wandering over everything. I saw some possum deposits on our bedroom window sill the other day…they are spying on me while I sleep!

I LOVE this idea! I have been hoarding large coffee cans for just this sort of reason. Guess which narf is going to give this a go...

I LOVE this idea! I have been hoarding large coffee cans for just this sort of reason. Guess which narf is going to give this a go…

 

Or this! Why on earth would you throw cans out if you could use them to make something like this?

Or this! Why on earth would you throw cans out if you could use them to make something like this?

You all know that I put small cubes of tasty cheese out for the local grey shrike thrushes but it has been disappearing rapidly of late and much faster than usual. I was wondering if the sparrows had built up in numbers because they are quite partial to a bit of tasty cheese but aside from a little male sparrow that accompanies the grey shrike thrush up to the deck on a regular basis who is most tenacious as the shrike thrush is three times his size and prone to pecking him on the head if he dives into the cheese futures first, there aren’t any more sparrows than usual on our kitchen window ledge so a mystery was afoot!

 

Isn't this mailbox a hoot? :)

Isn’t this mailbox a hoot? 🙂

I kept watching the window sill as I walked past. As I have been chained to the PC I tend to be in the kitchen a lot making cups of tea (anything but sitting staring at that screen!) and I just so happened to look out the other day when one of the grey shrike thrushes was collecting some cheese cubes and noticed that the shrike thrush had big eyes…”Oh shrike thrush what big eyes you have? All the better to see you my dear…” now even I, with my limited ornithological abilities, know that grey shrike thrushes are not overly endowed with large eyes. I have seen enough of them collecting up bundles of cubed cheese to take back to their nests to know a bit about them by default. We share a common space albeit on other sides of the window and this “shrike” was a wolf in sheep’s clothing! I had a closer look at the obviously antsy shrike and noticed that it was a little bit more brown than grey…she was watching me closely while she crammed a very large bundle of cheese cubes into every angle of her beak and then she flew off…hmmm…another kind of shrike perchance? But then the mystery was solved by her partner who flew up and started collecting cheese cubes as well. He was as black as the ace of spades with beady little eyes that I would recognise anywhere and he looked at me through the glass as if to say “Don’t make any sudden moves missus or the dog gets it!” Blackbirds!

Stevie-boy on his day off playing his guitar

Stevie-boy on his day off playing his guitar

One of the photos that Steve took for me today to use in my final assessment in Prepress

One of the photos that Steve took for me today to use in my final assessment in Prepress

They had obviously been watching the grey shrike thrushes most carefully. We have a few pairs of blackbirds on the property and I quite like them. There aren’t any cleverer birds in this neck of the woods if you ask me. They watch…they learn…they take advantage of what they just learned and that tells me that there is more than rudimentary brain activity going on inside those small skulls and I admire that. The first time I noticed Ms Blackbird she had a crust of dirt on her beak which is what made me look closer at her in the first place. Grey shrike thrushes are arboreal and rarely go to ground. They are insectivores and tend to peel bark from trees and eat tree dwelling grubs. The do a great job of clearing out the house spiders from between the bricks as well but never poke their beaks in the soil so this made me pay attention…Ms blackbird appears to have found a much easier option to rootling around in the vain hope of finding a worm with one eye constantly watching for cat attack at any moment…Ms blackbird is now living the high life with Mr blackbird and all because she wondered “what if I headed up there and took a bit of a look…”

We have to use all of our own artwork in our final assessment in Prepress and that means recreating whatever we need. I created this today...

We have to use all of our own artwork in our final assessment in Prepress and that means recreating whatever we need. I created this today…

See animals get it…they get that you have to put an effort in to get anything that is worthwhile. I get it as well but in the back of my cerebral cortex…the bit that gives me dreams and that warns me when I am about to do something stupid (my cerebral cortex works overtime…) and that holds past memories and those ancient life lessons that humanity appears to be forgetting en masse these days but that we kept getting reminded of by hair rising up on the back of our necks by our dear unforgetting cerebral cortex…I “get” that all of this study is good for me…I “get” that it is good for my brain, keeping it active learning new things…I “get” that this is much better for me than working for the dole at a local thrift shop sorting through clothes BUT that doesn’t make the front bit of my brain, the impulsive bit that wants to head to Pinterest and eat cake in my undies and socks at ALL appeased. Another reason why I have admiration for those blackbirds is that they are taking a short cut…they learned and they took advantage and they made their lives easier in the process. Kudos big eyes…you shall go to the cheese ball 🙂

Earl was most happy with the tasty mud and the deliciously fecund odour coming from duckies old boat. This is going to be used to make a water wicked strawberry bed inside Sanctuary in the near future

Earl was most happy with the tasty mud and the deliciously fecund odour coming from duckies old boat. This is going to be used to make a water wicked strawberry bed inside Sanctuary in the near future

So I have 2 x 8 page booklets to produce today…all of the artwork for said booklets, a few lessons in how to tart up a drop cap to narf7 standards (that means downloading ornate Art Nouveau and Art Deco fonts, twizzling around with metal gradients in Illustrator and trying my hardest to create gold out of purest Adobe), I then need to create a logo (but I have a good idea for that one) and try to cobble it all nonchalantly together to make it look like I could care less (apparently how designers do things) about the end results and that everything flowed easily and languidly from my truly talented fingertips…”Au Contraire my dear, it just flows from me like purest champagne…” that’s not the only thing that just flows from me 😉 Seriously folks, there is a lot of hard slog that goes on behind the scenes. Much like anything else that is worth it, you need to put in the hard yards to get to look that casual and on the fly…sometimes the simplest logo has taken some poor sap a month down the Morlock tunnel gulags turning from a healthy shade of human pink into a sort of insipid luminous pasty white with eyes that are no longer able to look at the light in order to casually drop onto someone’s letterhead only to be screwed up by the recipient as “MORE JUNK MAIL!”…sigh… plebeians!

Steve's entry into the "abstract architecture" section of his photography group this week

Steve’s entry into the “abstract architecture” section of his photography group this week

Yeah I “get it”…but…BUT…spring is calling! That cerebral cortex that keeps me from wetting my bed at night (several times over if you must know…) also has some kind of primordial sap rising in my veins that must be appeased. I was up to my armpits in compost and horse manure and oak leaves and straw yesterday making a sexy mix for my four new baby pepino’s. I don’t like getting my hands too dirty but I was actually enjoying squidging everything together…the sap was rising! Soon I will be twitching about planting out trees…albeit small ones…I will be thinking, no DREAMING about haybales and hugelkulture and permaculture will start invading my every thought. I won’t be able to concentrate on my drop caps because I will see that lovely leafy font and my mind will start to drift. It’s like the call of the wild in reverse. I don’t want to head off and go feral (well…any more feral than I already am…), I don’t want to wear coon skin hats and float down the river on one of my precious 2 palettes that I am keeping for a compost heap…no not THIS little black duck…I just…want…to …get… out…in…the …sodding…garden…for…a…BIT! That’s all I need…just a bit of garden therapy to go with all of this drop capping and sentence indenting and border creating and text wrapping.

Naughty narf and Stevie-boy went sniffing around the abandoned Beaconsfield mines on the weekend

Naughty narf and Stevie-boy went sniffing around the abandoned Beaconsfield mines on the weekend

This used to be used to grind up gold bearing ore

This used to be used to grind up gold bearing ore

The landscape is littered with massive great holes dating back to the 1800's so it is best to stick to the roads

The landscape is littered with massive great holes dating back to the 1800’s so it is best to stick to the roads

Unless you want to fall down a bottomless pit that is!

Unless you want to fall down a bottomless pit that is!

I just want to feel part of “outside” not firmly and strategically reinstated on this chair for the day. The sun might shine today. It didn’t yesterday and I wasn’t so keen to get out in the rain. A perfect day for studying but it was Stevie-boys day on the PC yesterday…I bet the sun will shine today. The sun loves schadenfreude. I often catch it peeking in at me, laughing and sucking on its trousers at me when I am filling the kettle near the kitchen window, watching the birds carry away cheese for their future. Another day down the Morlock mines BUT…”I get it!” another day closer to that garden! I am going to head off now in order to get a bit closer to my day in the sun that I will no doubt be complaining about soon enough but for now it is a blissful cerebral cortex memory that needs to be appeased. Wish me luck folks…I am going in!

One of Stevie-boys lovely abstract photos of some of the old machinery we found

One of Stevie-boys lovely abstract photos of some of the old machinery we found

If you look closely you can see the big boots of the narf 7...I am playing at being Amish (or was that just that all of my jeans were in the wash? ;) )

If you look closely you can see the big boots of the narf 7…I am playing at being Amish (or was that just that all of my jeans were in the wash? 😉 )

Isn't this wattle lovely? You don't often get to see wattles that are able to grow to their full height. This one is in full flower.

Isn’t this wattle lovely? You don’t often get to see wattles that are able to grow to their full height. This one is in full flower.

 

Enter the lizard hunter

Hi All,

 

Well hot diggety dog my dear constant readers, we are right back here again and little has changed on Serendipity Farm except the slave albino Morlock’s have been freed from their shackles of oppression and are now footloose and fancy free of studies for at least a couple of days. We collated our final two assignment tasks and all of the peripheral bampf that makes them take a much longer time to complete that we are required to submit along with our work and handed them in on Monday. That left us shell-shocked and twitching and with NO idea of how to live in the real world aside from sitting on a PC and working to rule. It was sad to see us wandering around like little lost lambs without a clue and even sadder when we were joined by the dogs because it started to rain and thus became a washout for working in the garden and walking dogs…four pathetic souls walking around the kitchen table following each other like shrews in a perpetual circle…

An example of what we have been doing lately

An example of what we have been doing lately

 

A caravan of shrews

A caravan of shrews

We had planned to forge ahead…to drive to Exeter and pick up a half trailer load of compost from the local landscape supply centre then head off to buy some seeds from a small local nursery that specialise in breeding their own heritage seeds to our local conditions. Less variety but more likely to survive…I like those odds! We had SO many plans! We were going to fix Sanctuary and Stevie-boy would be my hero and would drill holes in the poles and we would string up the possum repelling top netting with plastic coated clothes line wire that the little swine’s wouldn’t have a hope in heck of chewing through and would be relegated to bouncing furiously on with no dent in the netting allowing them to trampoline their way down to the tender greens below. I had visions of all sorts of things but then the reality of the rain…slow…constant…and unlikely to stop rain set in and so we walked a few more circuits around the kitchen table in a slow progression of sadness and broke off eventually to pursue other indoor activities.

One of the gorgeous sunsets we have been having lately to welcome spring into the Southern Hemisphere

One of the gorgeous sunsets we have been having lately to welcome spring into the Southern Hemisphere

 

We can’t handle another day of Earl sulking so we are going to have to get out and walk the dogs today. I can hear the wind chime heralding more rain but we have the curious situation here in my local borough, whereby it tends to stay dry till about 10am here and then rains. Excellent for early morning dog walkers, not so good for people who want to garden after they walk. We did go to Exeter yesterday to post off Ms Pauline’s dangler things for her dangler of International Happiness. I hope she isn’t expecting too much as there is a bag of harvested bits-and-bobs that we thought might just make interesting inclusions to her dangler.  I can’t wait to see how it looks when Ms Pauline has put her touches to it. Anyone who would like to add something to Ms Pauline’s dangler of great international happiness please drop me a line and we can talk. Ms Pauline could do with some aqua beads if anyone has any lying around. I did find something sort of green but that’s about as aqua as it gets in my mixed bag so anyone who dabbles in the beady arts who has some strange leftover beads please get in touch. The cause is worthy, admirable and will result in your cast offs being turned into frugal sustainable art by Ms Pauline who is a most clever minx when it comes to the creative arts.

We are getting a LOT of eggs lately. At the moment they are happy to lay in a haybale in Steve's shed but any day soon that will change and we will be back to hunting high and low for them

We are getting a LOT of eggs lately. At the moment the chooks are happy to lay in a haybale in Steve’s shed but any day soon that will change and we will be back to hunting high and low for them

I also sent off a delicious wooden spoon handcrafted by Stevie-boy to a wonderful lady who wanted to trade on her blog. I have been following Belinda’s blog for a little while now and  I had shared a post by Belinda with you all before and in this post  Belinda posed a most interesting case for trading something rather than selling. I think she was testing the waters to see just what she might end up with if she wanted to trade. I need to point out something here about why I was SO excited about wanting to trade with Ms Belinda. My daughters are both Koreanaphiles. They love all things Korean but especially K-Pop, a subculture of Korean pop music that has bled over into the West. The very first band that they liked was a band called Shinee and although I could remember most of the guys in the band I could NEVER remember one called “Minho”. Minho was my nemesis and my daughters would tease me mercilessly saying “which one is Minho”?  And I would invariably pick the wrong band member. It turns out “Minho” isn’t just a member of a Korean K-Pop band but it is also a region in Portugal famous for inventing Caldo Verde and for it’s gorgeous hand spun wool. Ms Belinda had made some wonderful hats out of some of this unctuous wool and was offering them up for trade! I could have my own Minho hat! I would never forget Minho again! Long after my daughters had forgotten who he was…”I”…the forgetful narf…would remember 🙂

 

Minho hat! :)

Minho hat! 🙂

So you see I “had” to at least attempt to trade with Ms Belinda (who appears to be hugging herself in the first image in this post…hey, if you can’t hug the one you love, hug the one your with eh? 😉 ). She accepted the offer of a trade for one of Stevie-boys wooden spoons and I promptly forgot about it till Steve came up the driveway with a parcel that I wasn’t expecting…it turns out the wonderful Ms Belinda had sent my Minho hat and a second Minho hat for one of the girls! Looks like we are ALL going to remember who Minho is ;). Steve found some lovely blackheart sassafras, a rare and special Tasmanian endemic wood, in his woody collection to turn into a lovely spoon for Ms Belinda and for some curious reason I forgot to take a photo of it before I sent it off yesterday…”Doh!” Oh well…I can show you the Minho hats and my daughters can fight over their hat when I get around to delivering it to the city ;). I love the idea of trading things. No money need change hands (which is a good thing when there isn’t a lot of it lying around to trade) and you end up forging community, making new friends, getting something awesome and handmade and sharing the creative love around. I think Stevie-boy needs to make more wooden spoons…his creative muse is delicious. Stevie-boy thinks that I need to shut up 😉

Steve both made these pork pies and took this lovely photo. This is for all of you carnivorous ex-pat's from the old country who can't live without their pork pies at Christmas...make them yourself! :)

Steve both made these pork pies and took this lovely photo. This is for all of you carnivorous ex-pat’s from the old country who can’t live without their pork pies at Christmas…make them yourself! 🙂

this photo is 40+ years old. It was taken by my mother on an 100 acre farm that we once lived on and is of her gaggle of geese that she kept. It might look like the Kalahari desert in this photo but it's mid summer and the geese have eaten all of the grass.

this photo is 40+ years old. It was taken by my mother on an 100 acre farm that we once lived on and is of her gaggle of geese that she kept. It might look like the Kalahari desert in this photo but it’s mid summer and the geese have eaten all of the grass.

It might be windy outside but it hasn’t rained since I got up and its 5.10am now. Bezial heard the alarm go off this morning and headed in with determination to take up my warm spot in the bed prior to me evacuating it so I did what any good dog owner would do and got out of bed. I need to tidy up my RSS Feed Reader that is wilder than Serendipity Farms front jungle at the moment but that’s easily tamed and apologies to my dear constant readers who I haven’t been commenting on your posts of late but our study load was formidable and now that we are out the other side (and the slave master general had his whip eaten by Earl) we have a bit of breathing space. The last thing that I want to do when freed from my seat on the PC is sit here all day knocking out my RSS Feed Reader so it might take me some time but I will get there 🙂

Spring has definitely sprung and here's the proof...the nectarine tree is flowering

Spring has definitely sprung and here’s the proof…the nectarine tree is flowering

The shadow of a narf and the actuality of a power cord that made all of the work we did today possible in Sanctuary (remind me to hide that power cord next time... ;) )

The shadow of a narf and the actuality of a power cord that made all of the work we did today possible in Sanctuary (remind me to hide that power cord next time… 😉 )

I might share our school blog with you all so that you can head over there and see what Stevie-boy and I have been doing for the last 2 years. That’s a lot easier than clogging up this blog with our erstwhile efforts and you can head over there and take a peek or not…your choice. Last year we weren’t expected to put much up on our blogs but this year our lecturer has us putting up our final assessments…I am not sure that I agree with her logic. Feel free to head over and have a nose around on our blogs but remember they are our school blogs so please vet your comments accordingly (looking at YOU Ms Twinn! 😉 )

https://heartwoodspoons.wordpress.com/

This is Stevie-boys school blog

https://veganscousewife.wordpress.com/

And this one is Narf’s school blog

Note if you want to look at the links, WordPress seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to how it opens them. Sometimes it expects you to download them to your desktop, sometimes it opens up a pdf on the page you are viewing (so you have to click back to where you were) and sometimes it opens up a pdf on another page…NO idea what it is going to do at any given time but that’s part of the experience right? 😉 By the way Bethany…if you do happen to go and have a look at our work and you see an image of a girl dressed up in fancy dress with a flower in her hand that looks strangely like you when you were about 8…it’s just a figment of your imagination! 😉

This artichoke is only alive because of those tyres around it. Note the tangle mass of deceased plant matter to the left of the artichoke. This is possum damage and the reason why we need to fix Sanctuary before we try to plant a veggie garden this year...

This artichoke is only alive because of those tyres around it. Note the tangle mass of deceased plant matter to the left of the artichoke. This is possum damage and the reason why we need to fix Sanctuary before we try to plant a veggie garden this year…

On Tuesday morning we had to walk around like hunchbacks in order to traverse sanctuary as the possums had trampolined the top almost down to the ground

On Tuesday morning we had to walk around like hunchbacks in order to traverse sanctuary as the possums had trampolined the top almost down to the ground

It’s only Tuesday at the moment so you just never know. I might get up to Sanctuary today and there may or may not be photo’s. I can at least get a photo of Earl’s craziness when we let him off lead in Sanctuary and he realises that he is FREE! which is part of the reason why you are NEVER going to be “free” in the real world Early boy…pity you don’t learn a bit of self-restraint as it would be lovely to let you off the lead and let you forage around but you were built to hunt and your primary objective is to sniff, to find and to eat 😦 Oh well…your choice sunshine! Bezial is happy to curb his desire to scarf a chook in order to wander free (like Kung-fu) among them (with the occasional beak pressing episode that we won’t talk about 😉 ) That’s given me a good head start on tomorrows email now. I can add a bit, take a few photos and I don’t have to produce a rabbit out of a hat at the starting gate… I tend not to perform well when put on the spot or on command. Probably best that I wasn’t born male 😉

Kale gone to seed YAY! :)

Kale gone to seed YAY! 🙂

Might be time for our resident sheoak inside Sanctuary to have a hair cut again...

Might be time for our resident sheoak inside Sanctuary to have a hair cut again…

I can plant these loquats out this year as they are big enough to survive a summer in the ground without a lot of extra watering

I can plant these loquats out this year as they are big enough to survive a summer in the ground without a lot of extra watering

I am SO tired! I went from twiddling my thumbs on Monday to slaving in the Sanctuary gulags for the last two days and I couldn’t be happier :). We started sorting out the top of Sanctuary, my fully enclosed (supposedly) native animal proof veggie garden yesterday. It was hard going because Stevie-boy had to drill holes in all of the steel poles that we concreted into the ground in order to make Sanctuary in the first place so that we could thread through and tie off sections of plastic coated metal clothes line that we are using to ensure that the possums etc. can’t pass. He broke 3 drill bits in a row they are so tough and we had to take a trip to Exeter to pick up some new bits so we also bought some compost and seeds at the same time. We like to multitask. We had a bit of a twitching moment yesterday where Stevie-boy decided that he would release the ring of clothes line that I had entrusted him to hold in order to do “something else” and it twisted all over the place and became hopelessly entangled. Needless to say I think I need to sign up for anger management classes and possibly hypnotherapy to teach me not to swear like a duchess whilst threatening Stevie-boy with every threat I could possibly think of if he EVER touched the plastic coated wire ring ever again… we got over it…not sure the neighbours have yet though…

The great lizard hunter

The great lizard hunter

The great lizard hunter again

The great lizard hunter again

Bezial has sworn off lizards and is enjoying a sunbeam

Bezial has sworn off lizards and is enjoying a sunbeam

Today, after walking the dogs with Jan and Mieka who appears to be developing a Mieka fan club and who has gone from Jan wondering what she was going to do with her to 5 people wanting to adopt her (the best possible outcome), we headed up to Sanctuary with steely determination and set to with the final push to get our garden back from the (filthy) possums. Earl and Bezial were most happy to be returning to sunbeams and lizards and the first thing that Earl did was frolic…a lot. We managed to shore up all of the top of Sanctuary and I sorted out one of the areas where the possums can get in. Tomorrow we have about an hour to sort out the other join and then Sanctuary is MINE! It would be OURS if Steve really cared about it but it’s my baby and my dream and Steve would rather be doing something else but is entirely happy to indulge me in my (crazy) pursuits.

 

Earl gave up on lizards and found a much slower golden beetroot to chew instead

Earl gave up on lizards and found a much slower golden beetroot to chew instead

The view from Stevie-boys gumboot

The view from Stevie-boys gumboot

Sanctuary liberated! :)

Sanctuary liberated! 🙂

So here I am…tired but incredibly happy on what has turned out to be a gorgeous spring day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s still crisp and cool and the soil is nice and damp (gluggy and muddy in some places) and I feel vegetable futures in MY future :). I will be soaking seed today to plant out tomorrow as we bought some compost and will be adding other things to it to make a happy place for seeds to grow. This year narf 7 actually IS going to grow all of her own seedlings and I have the seeds to prove it! Wish me luck folks because there is a whole lot of work to be done before I can plant out those little prospective seedlings but at least they are changing hands from being mental seedlings to physical seedlings. Thank you SO much to all of my gardening dear constant readers who have given me encouragement and help and thanks to spring for filling me with spring possibilities. No doubt I will be less than happy with spring tomorrow when I can’t get out of bed because I am too sore but whatchagonnadoeh? 😉

Vegetable futures!

Vegetable futures!

 

 

 

Life on the cusp of the seasons

Hi All,

 

So what’s all this “Serendipity Farm” stuff all about eh? Well you can be assured that we aren’t a real farm folks. Sorry to break the apple cart for a few of you but I just read a blog post about romance novels by the illustrious Mr 23Thorns of the erstwhile blog “23thorns” (I am NOT very imaginative when addressing my literary idols) and realised that narf7 is to Serendipity Farm what romance novel readers are to real, up-front romance…sort of a safe aside while you are thinking about other things. I thought that I should clarify this as I have been getting a few new followers lately and I would HATE for them to think that there was any degree of “E.I.E.I.O.” going on at any given time here. Most of the time you are going to get the daily trials and tribulations of a scared little weird wide eyed middle aged student hippy woman who spends most of her life online when she isn’t under the bed with her sometimes protector Earl protecting the sock under the bed from dying a slow starving death and simultaneously shoveling in ice cream because EVERYTHING is better with ice cream

Before I can even BEGIN to explain the next 2 photos, I need to give you some background on them…It was last Friday night. We may, or may not, have had a bottle of wine (or 2) and we were definitely watching this absolutely AMAZING YouTube vid of a fantastic Croatian pair of cellists who are extremely talented and most delicious at the same time. What Aussie could resist 2 hot guys playing cello’s dressed in period costume and covering Acadaca eh?! Here’s the video (watch it as otherwise you will have NO idea where this is going…)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT3SBzmDxGk

We watched it several times (as you do when you are sipping of the grape scented fluid of great happiness) and then Stevie-boy decided to share a few other classical musicians who made the cross-over to rock including Mr Nigel Kennedy and another man (who’s name escapes me now but Ms Pauline knows) who got Stevie-boy onto gypsy music. GYPSIES! Those quintessential scallywags who are prone to moving in, cashing up and then moving on to greener pastures…they are also, we are assured by Mr Borat, ever on the watch for your tears so Stevie-boy was most insistent that he should do some kind of dance to ward off the gypsy’s that we had OBVIOUSLY called forth by listening to gypsy music and that, my dear constant readers, is what brings me to these 2 images…remember, this is Stevie-boy preventing us from the gypsy’s stealing our tears and NOTHING to do with all of that red wine. Nothing at ALL 😉

If you are interested in protecting yourselves and your family from passing gypsy’s stealing your tears you may want to dance along. Here is the most tasty Mr David Garret ( I remembered his name! Ms Pauline will be MOST proud of me 🙂 ) playing the Hungarian Dance No. 5 which just so happens to be Stevie-boys gypsy dance of choice in the photos below…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07WLB584I5Q

Not entirely sure why the trousers had to be rolled up but they DID...I am assured this is an authentic anti tear stealing dance

Not entirely sure why the trousers had to be rolled up but they DID…I am assured this is an authentic anti tear stealing dance

 

As you can see there are some serious moves going on here...you would be surprised how active you have to get to stop those gypsy's stealing your tears!

As you can see there are some serious moves going on here…you would be surprised how active you have to get to stop those gypsy’s stealing your tears!

Nature is telling me that we are going to have an early spring. I am telling nature that she is a bollocks and that she should surely be enjoying a nice, long, extended and most glorious sleep in for a bit longer. I am willing to deliver a cup of tea to her sleeping countenance just so that she doesn’t keep the fruit trees flowering, the jonquils and daffodils following suit and everything budding up. I am not completely averse to “spring” per-se, don’t get me wrong. I love little lambies frolicking as much as anyone else BUT I am not ready for spring. I haven’t even allowed my (poor addled) mind to think about it yet because spring heralds getting outside, getting physical, getting seeds started, getting Sanctuary up and running and ready to take the baton of vegetable growing that narf7 has lost someplace (probably under the bed hidden in that poor long suffering moth eaten sock!). I am just NOT READY YET alright?!

SPRING?!

SPRING?!

 

Bezial is happy about the new sunbeams gracing his deck

Bezial is happy about the new sunbeams gracing his deck

 

This is Honesty a perennial plant with the botanical name Lunaria annua.

This is Honesty a perennial plant with the botanical name Lunaria annua.

 

And THIS is honesty. Not a lot botanically going on but plenty of nasturtiums and lots of hard work needed...EEK

And THIS is honesty. Not a lot botanically going on but plenty of nasturtiums and lots of hard work needed…EEK

 

This is why I haven't done a lot over winter...I couldn't stop the possums from invading Poland :(. I have found a solution. Stay tuned for narf doing a happy dance twice as energetic as Stevie-boys (and documented) if it works :)

This is why I haven’t done a lot over winter…I couldn’t stop the possums from invading Poland :(. I have found a solution. Stay tuned for narf doing a happy dance twice as energetic as Stevie-boys (and documented) if it works 🙂

Besides my lack of readiness nature needs to know that the beginning of August simply isn’t spring. If we allow her to keep nibbling away at our months here and insinuating seasons willy-nilly we are going to end up with some mighty strange things going on. I know that people living in the tropics live with these mighty weird seasonal things…winter being summer and summer being HELLO torrential rain etc. is all well and good if you live in the tropics because you CHOOSE that kind of situation but I chose cold…and frost…and LONG winters and short summers (short as possible if the truth be known) and now nature is nibbling her way into my precious winter? There is NO justice! And there is no stopping mother nature when she has made up her mind. She is exactly like MY mother was…stubborn as a mule and not to be stopped…good luck…she is going to do what she wants to do and be DAMNED if “you” are going to stop her…sigh…hello spring. I am not all that happy about you strewing your bouquets and budding up my blueberries because said blueberries are knee deep in horse manure and are just about to go gangbusters in what can only be considered a most temporary housing arrangement that heralds a HUGE amount of hard slog for one narf7 of Serendipity “Farm”…

The red growth on these blueberries means that they love their new home up to their crowns in dung

The red growth on these blueberries means that they love their new home up to their crowns in dung

 

Another sign that spring is here...the grape vines are budding up. I will plant these cuttings out this year inside Sanctuary

Another sign that spring is here…the grape vines are budding up. I will plant these cuttings out this year inside Sanctuary

I have been walking Earl at 6am lately and it’s been very cold and frosty and dark. This morning we had a lovely almost full moon accompanying us most of the way. I wrote a little poem in my head about our new early morning friend…

The moon followed us today

A big golden puppy with old man eyes

It stayed behind the eucalyptus tree fence

We walked in silent contemplation

Until the sun threw a stick and it ran away

 

I am not often drawn into the unfathomable world of poetry but it was the only way that I could remember this amazing moon and how beautiful it was. Earl and I crunched our way down the road in the frost enjoying the beautiful sight.

This was taken when the sun came up. 2 new goats in Sidmouth that Earl was MOST interested in having a little chat to...

This was taken when the sun came up. 2 new goats in Sidmouth that Earl was MOST interested in having a little chat to…

 

Fungus and blackberries. Throw in forget-me-nots and periwinkle and you have the story of Serendipity Farm's life...

Fungus and blackberries. Throw in forget-me-nots and periwinkle and you have the story of Serendipity Farm’s life…

 

Big Yin (the last rooster... I am sure there is a movie title in that...) and his constant companion Duckie basking in the sun

Big Yin (the last rooster… I am sure there is a movie title in that…) and his constant companion Duckie basking in the sun

I just finished the unit on Sustainability! I haven’t been so glad to see the back of something since I last had to go to the doctors for one of those “women’s visits”. SO glad to say bid adieu to what was effectively a great big pile of green wash and bampf cemented together with torture and narf headaches.  Now we can focus on getting our next unit up and running. It’s good to be on track and the year is galloping away at a fast rate of knots so it’s really important to keep on top of things. I phoned up this morning to put an expression of interest in on our next prospective study course next year. Hopefully we get into the course, if not, I am sure that Mr Abbot has something tucked up his sleeve for penniless student hippies without the “student” shield to protect them 😦

This was taken of the deck after the big blow that took out our phone line. Phone is back, sun is out, leaves are still there ;)

This was taken of the deck after the big blow that took out our phone line. Phone is back, sun is out, leaves are still there 😉

 

We get to see all of the boats pootling up and down the Tamar River. This is one of the tugs based at Beauty Point after towing a bigger boat in to the city

We get to see all of the boats pootling up and down the Tamar River. This is one of the tugs based at Beauty Point after towing a bigger boat in to the city

 

This isn't a fizhog of a photo, it's a palm leaf looking like the letter "b". Our next assignment involves us finding letters in nature. This was a lucky break and nice and close to the house ;)

This isn’t a fizhog of a photo, it’s a palm leaf looking like the letter “b”. Our next assignment involves us finding letters in nature. This was a lucky break and nice and close to the house 😉

Its Wednesday and you can strike the unhappiness at the rapid approach of spring…I have learned that if you can’t beat them, join them and so I have decided to embrace spring and all things daffodilly and jonquilly and growing like crazy (except the forget-me-nots…can’t embrace them…) so here I am after heading up to Sanctuary with the boys and releasing the hounds on its unsuspecting population of plants that have not only weathered but survived most admirably, the storm, frost and anything else that our unseasonably mild winter threw at them. Most of the area is covered in nasturtiums but I figure at least the soil has cover so let them grow. I noticed that dad’s yellow orchid is going great guns and has decided to flower most profusely in the next week or so (not now so I can’t get a photo but whatchagonnadoeh? Maybe next week…if I remember 😉 ).

Happy chooks basking under the deck with no worries about being molested or herded by errant roosters

Happy chooks basking under the deck with no worries about being molested or herded by errant roosters

 

Check out the lean on this old dead tree. That pile of spent chook hay is to soften the blow when it falls. That's my story and I am sticking to it ;)

Check out the lean on this old dead tree. That pile of spent chook hay is to soften the blow when it falls. That’s my story and I am sticking to it 😉

 

I have all of four photos for today’s post and it’s already twelve o’clock and not only am I devoid of images but I have already roamed the property today with the dogs. I found out that a large Blackwood tree has fallen over but due to its extremely bowed trunk, it is still in the ground albeit in a newly formed hump with a few roots sticking out. I would leave it there aside from the fact that it fell down straight in the middle of my arbutus tree 😦 bollocks! I was wandering (who am I kidding…I was being dragged mercilessly behind a small determined brown and white tank!) through the jungle part of the garden and started to get the old familiar excitement that rises up whenever possibilities are afoot. I got it inside Sanctuary as well. I started to make plans for passion-fruit vine purchases, for hauling duckies boat into Sanctuary and using it as a raised bed for herbs and strawberries, for keyhole gardens and pathways around the outside to prevent determined wallabies and chooks from barreling into the sides of Sanctuary and reaching their “prey” easily…my motto is if they are going to steal it, I am going to make them work very hard to do so!

Some of the cuttings I took last year that have thrived despite being completely neglected. PERFECT for planting out on Serendipity Farm where the neglect runs like a river ;)

Some of the cuttings I took last year that have thrived despite being completely neglected. PERFECT for planting out on Serendipity Farm where the neglect runs like Usain Bolt on steroids 😉

 

More neglected plants. This time they are rewarding us for their neglect by flowering. I love orchids. They want so little and give so much :)

More neglected plants. This time they are rewarding us for their neglect by flowering. I love orchids. They want so little and give so much 🙂

Luckily I prepared a bit of this blog post earlier. I am at a bit of a loss for what to do today as I NEED to do some work on the gift that I am preparing for my eldest daughter Madeline in the near future or it simply isn’t going to happen. It is going to take lots of time and planning and I have done most of the planning but now I need to put in the time. My studies have had me glued to the computer but I have made a most determined push to the front and now I find myself with time on my hands and that means that I can get stuck into “the gift” as it shall be called right up to the time that I can reveal what it is/was after December 25th. I am guessing it will be the predominate part of my post come boxing day as I just checked and Christmas is on a Tuesday. I like to find out little snippets of information about Christmas…little bits that I cobble together in a sequence so that I don’t have to be terrified in one fell swoop.  Are you terrified of Christmas? Join the club! A bit closer to Christmas and I will be under the bed with a tub of good vegan ice cream (yes…there is such a thing 😉 ) but at the moment I am deluding myself that it isn’t approaching at a rampaging gallop and that it is STILL winter and narf7 is just about to toast her hands by Brunhilda who hasn’t been out since late April. What a stellar performance you wonderful (SO much more than a) wood-stove 🙂

Nature reclaiming the lawn. This is a small blackwood tree growing in the side lawn. Right next to it there is another one. If we leave them there, they will grow quickly and the lawn will cease to be

Nature reclaiming the lawn. This is a small blackwood tree growing in the side lawn. Right next to it there is another one. If we leave them there, they will grow quickly and the lawn will cease to be

 

My danglers. I made all of these Ms Pauline :)

My danglers. I made all of these Ms Pauline 🙂

 

Our summer oven, our gas bbq. As you can see it also acts as a winter repository for boots

Our summer oven, our gas bbq. As you can see it also acts as a winter repository for boots. If you squint you can see a narf in the window

So here I am at the end again…I don’t even remember the beginning as I started it last week. I remember the poem and was of two minds to not put it in but I figure it is good for you all to see that I am multi-faceted, pretty amazing really…you are very lucky to be reading this blog you know ;). I hope that wherever you are your world is treating you well and that you can find something, even a teeny tiny something, each and every day to be thankful for because like Mr Simon Townsend used to say “The world really IS wonderful” 🙂

 

You didn't think we could go a week without Earl being in the post did you? Here he is for all of his loyal fans and he would like to say that he would send you all an email but for his lack of opposable thumbs. You will have to content yourself with adoring him from afar ;)

You didn’t think we could go a week without Earl being in the post did you? Here he is for all of his loyal fans and he would like to say that he would send you all an email but for his lack of opposable thumbs. You will have to content yourself with adoring him from afar 😉

 

Previous Older Entries