Plans and processes


Processes towards change

Earl says "Bring it ON!"
Earl says “Bring it ON monster!”
Why we can't have nice things
Why we can’t have nice things (or vacuum. It’s my excuse and I am sticking to it!)
Piglet escapes
Piglet on the cusp of escaping the jaws of doom.

The processes that form our lives come about entirely by choice. We choose to embrace or stand back from each moment of our lives and sometimes you just have to step out in faith when you really don’t want to. This is most pertinent to what we are doing here on Serendipity Farm at the moment as this week we started a process of change that has had excellent results.

The start of our blackberry removal exodus.
The beginning of the end for the blackberry overlords.
Where do we start?
Where do we start?

We have been meaning to do something about the jungle area in front of our house. As most of you know, it was once a lovely terraced landscaped garden but slowly regressed to the weed filled jungle that we know as our front acre today. Feral cats had been using the blackberry choked hedges as safe zones to traverse our property and despite previous half-hearted efforts to remove blackberries; we had always had problems with regrowth because up until now, we were trying to preserve the gardens ancient shrubs.

Me in the thick of the blackberries
Me in the thick of the blackberries wearing my trusty welding gloves and oversized jumper to make it harder for them to bite me.
Welcome to the jungle.
Welcome to the jungle.
Revealing the potential underneath.
Revealing the potential underneath.
Happy chooks
At least the chooks are happy about our hard slog. They can now access the areas that the blackberries stopped them from scratching up prior to our efforts.
Mother hen and chicks
This was the first of the mother hens to hatch out a clutch of feral babies. We have trained them to live in the coop now but we just released the second mum and her 12 babies that were being holed up in Stevie-boys shed to the coop. There might be sparks in the old coop tonight…

I think it takes a degree of desperation to get the ball rolling sometimes. It’s the same reason why Stevie-boy and I have been hauling the materials for Sanctuaries incredible new upgrade. We want to find a way to spend less time and water producing our food so after some hefty online research (as far as it usually goes with me “OUCH!” honesty is a bitch) we cobbled together a selection of ideas and ideals that we think might just work for our conditions. I think that’s the secret here folks. What works for us, might not work for someone else but it might just get the ball rolling with ideas and possibilities that someone may not have thought of before. That’s the true power of the internet. Giving us every chance to go hunting for something that will allow us to realise the possibilities and to implement those possibilities to affect positive change.

The problem with doing any degree of clearing on our property is that we generate so much green waste.
The problem with doing any degree of clearing on our property is that we generate so much green waste.
Stevie-boy being used for scale purposes near some of our green waste heaps
Stevie-boy being used for scale purposes near some of our green waste heaps
We can't compost them as some of the weeds in here would see that as the thumbs up to take over the compost heap.
We can’t compost them as some of the weeds in here would see that as the thumbs up to take over the compost heap.
Where the blackberries finish, the other weeds take over. This one is honeysuckle.
Where the blackberries finish, the other weeds take over. This one is honeysuckle. A lovely scented climbing vine but in our conditions it goes feral and strangles everything.

I just read Jo from All the blue day’s (blog) latest post. I will give you the link here so that you can read it as well if you choose to. Jo is an excellent communicator and a sterling human being. She is able to dwell on the edge and knits community on all sides together with care and consideration. Her latest post was based on her concern for the imminent power crisis that our state is facing and woven through with a book she just read about humanity learning to be anti-fragile. It really struck a nerve with me as someone who was raised last century to be decidedly anti-fragile. My dad’s favourite saying, when one of my siblings or I waved aloft some prize or other, was “Don’t get up yourself!” In effect “Don’t be precious”. It would seem we humans are a whole lot more resilient than we are led to believe and we are more than capable of looking after ourselves if we use common sense and due diligence towards ourselves and others.

I say this because since we moved to the country, we have learned more in the time spent here than we have for most of our lives previous. Nature’s lessons are often brutal but pack a punch of anti-fragility that reintroduces us to our natural place and we would do well to learn that earlier rather than later in my opinion. We are surrounded by tips and hints for how to make our lives easier, but I would mention that “easier” isn’t all that good at developing character or resilience. I can see why so many people are attempting to move back to the land and try to do things for themselves. It’s hard work but the rewards are multifaceted and incredibly satisfying when they come.

The hard slog is it's own reward. We are starting to see real potential for this part of the garden and it is motivating us to keep going.
The hard slog is it’s own reward. We are starting to see real potential for this part of the garden and it is motivating us to keep going.
Battle scars.
Battle scars. You should see my legs!
Strange light the other morning
Strange light the other morning

We gave up trying to find a way to wave a magic wand and fix our front acre. We decided that we two middle aged lazy bollock hermits were going to stage our own war against the blackberries and we picked up a pair of secateurs each and a pair of welding gloves (the best defence against blackberry thorns and Scotch thistles) and our trusty loppers and walked with purpose towards the mass. The first steps are honestly the hardest. “Where the HELL do we start?!” The scope of the project was magnificent. We decided on a spot at the left hand corner and after a bit of deliberating, we just “did it”. We have been working on the garden for a number of days now and the change is surprising, liberating and its own reward. I now get out of bed and think “I can hack down “X” sector today!” I am motivated. Sore, scratched, but motivated for change.

Smoky, dirty, covered in blackberry scars and with Donald Trump's hair.
Smoky, dirty, covered in blackberry scars and with Donald Trump’s hair.
This version is more like the lead singer from A Flock of Seagulls
This version is more like the lead singer from A Flock of Seagulls.
If you can't laugh at yourself...
If you can’t laugh at yourself you can always rely on the dog to do it for you…

The scope of completely overhauling Sanctuary is enormous. What we are going to have to do is making my natural lazy bollocks tendencies twitch BUT I now know how much hard work I can do and how amazing it feels to be out in the sunshine hacking away at change and I have learned some incredibly valuable lessons in the process. Now that we are tackling the worst part of Serendipity Farm, the rest of it looks like a cakewalk. Throwing ourselves in at the deep end DIDN’T make us drown. It taught us the back stroke and buoyed us up to build a sense of achievement and “can do” positivity that we never felt before. I have taken over as chief blackberry bitch. I have a steely determination to rid Serendipity Farm from the blackberry menace that Stevie-boy just doesn’t have. He is more concerned about being scratched than I am. If I get scratched, it’s just fuel for my repository of blackberry angst so thus I hack and he hauls with his trusty compost pitchfork. He also hauls and burns the mass so between us we do the Yin Yang thing again.

Ornamental ginger flowers
These are Ornamental ginger flowers. Stevie-boy took this image ages ago and I only just found it on his card and decided to (pilfer it to) share with you.
Hawthorn berry
This Hawthorn berry cluster was taken by Steve whilst being dragged at 50km/hour through the dog park. I don’t know how he managed to prevent motion blur but I salute him!
Polarisation of the city of Perth
This is an attempt to polarise the city of Perth. Not a bad result.

Life’s funny like that isn’t it? You think you can’t do something or it’s too hard and then suddenly you can. What was the enzyme that triggered that reaction? Being willing to get out there and start someplace aka “DOING”. Something that pays back in kind a hundredfold if you are willing to take that first step. I find it a bit sad that I am only just learning this at 52 but the flip side is that I can now apply this brilliant lesson to the rest of my life. Goodness only knows what we will be able to accomplish here on Serendipity Farm but at least we will now have the way to start all of the processes we want to initiate here. Just start at one side and get moving…

I would just like to say a big “hello!” to Natulka, the queen of screen at Alanvale TAFE and welcome to Serendipity Farm.

Just before I go, we saw that Google Nic was giving away it’s software download for free the other day. To anyone who owns a copy of Photoshop and who likes to muck around with images, this is a great opportunity to gain a few quality filters and some decent effects for nada. If you would like to take advantage of this seriously good offer, head over, post haste, to the following linky and press “download” with impunity. You could create some interesting effects like Stevie-boy has with some of his images.


Collection of cameras
Black and white camera header
Camera collection
Camera collection







13 Comments Add yours

  1. Good on you both!! It seems to me you have discovered the secrets to a happy life 1) Just DO IT 2) Share it – the yin and yang thing 3} Have a dog who laughs at you – oh and 4) Make great music together 🙂

    Happy days on Serendipity Farm and Steve has got some lovely arty photos there – I especially like the last one!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. narf7 says:

      He’s pretty good with the filters Ms Pauline and cheers for the lovely comment. Back to the grindstone today with some debris burning and some more blackberry tackling. I can’t wait to get down to those pathways so that one day in May we can walk straight down to the front gate from the house. Now THAT will be an achievement. Then we start on overhauling Sanctuary 🙂


      1. It’s a huge patch of land for the two of you to be cleaning up and renovating [do you say that for gardens?] yourselves – I’m admiration filled 🙂 This new blog is working well – now I know when you have responded to my comment as it shows in my feed 🙂 I’m fired up to see the Sanctuary overhaul!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        So am I Ms Pauline. We told our media lecturer at TAFE what we had up our sleeves and he got excited and said “You guys are excellent problem solvers”. As far as I know he doesn’t know JACK about plants so I am taking that as a reason to keep working hard to make sure that when we do reveal what we are going to do, it makes a decent impact and gets through to as many people who might want to know how to do this as possible. How was that for being excited but vague eh? 😉


      3. Keeping the mystery alive and the interest level high 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Some very thinking and words. Good for you both!


  3. Fran that was A JUNGLE you just cleared.. Amazing what headway you have made and how much space you are creating.. Ouch! for those scratches though.. I know only too well how they Bite.. We trimmed a section of our blackberries back last year as they had overtaken the back of the shed.. And were creeping dangerously to overtake our Allotments neighbours garden shed.. Though he said he enjoyed the camouflage it was giving his shed.. As when the allotment thieves hit our sheds they missed his 🙂
    Loved the pictures and we have had some strange skies over us lately too.. 🙂
    Loved that the Chooks have a new little brood .. 🙂
    I am sure you will have great ideas for this new unearthed section.. 🙂 And looking forward to it all unfolding

    Love Sue ❤ xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      We burned all of those piles of debris off yesterday after loading them into our trusty wheelbarrow and hauling them up to the driveway. Today we will liberate another part of the garden and hopefully, by the end of April, we will have liberated this whole area. Blackberries certainly put you off delving into wherever it is they have taken over. Our chooks always, unfailingly, pick a blackberry shrub to build their nests in. They obviously aren’t as stupid as they pretend to be 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No they are not stupid and know you won’t be diving in to take their eggs 🙂 Glad you are clearing loads away..You will have a whole new garden to create and design to your hearts content 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a LOT of hard work. But it will be rewarding… and totally worth it… and it will look awesome… and you’ll be high fiving yourself down the track. Yes you will!
    Would you/could you do a permablitz for it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      We have thought about a permablitz but we plan on being finished before winter really sets in so that doesn’t give us a lot of time. We will probably just do it ourselves 🙂


  5. Spy Garden says:

    Your picture of the front acre after clearing the berries is GORGEOUS. Also; that hair really suits you; very rocker cool! Also, the picture of the passionflower is stunning. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Cheers Ms Spy. I wish we were finished clearing the front acre. We have a whole lot more to do there yet but it’s a great start and its motivational to look out the window and know that we are part of the way there. The hair was thick with wood smoke after burning off all of the piles of wood. I think I (re) discovered how to style your hair without product ;). Steve takes some lovely photo’s with his Nikon. Did you check out the free filters and effects at Google Nik? If you have Photoshop they are well worth downloading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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