The post where nature laughs uproarously and sucks on her trousers

on

Nature 1 Narf7 nil

Hi All,
I am sitting here at 3.30pm on Friday full of equal parts elation and trepidation and surrounded by the meagre harvest that “Growing season 2015/16” delivered. In Sanctuaries favour, I did very little actual “harvesting” in the past season and tended to zoom up at 4.30am, stumble around in the dark, fall over the hose and mutter incessantly whilst hosing swimming pools worth of water onto her parched thirsty mounds. I just read that last sentence back and it sounds suspiciously like a Mills and Boone shirt ripper. I will cease and desist with the flowery prose and just get down to the nitty gritty of what we are doing, where we are doing it and, most importantly, HOW we are doing it for anyone brave (foolish) enough to follow in our pioneering footsteps.

Descending to the Morlock mines
We thought that you might like to take a little look at where Steve and I go 3 days a week. By this point, we have already left the car and walked through the car park and entry to Alanvale TAFE. You see before you the steep descent to the Morlock mines where we have to toil away our days.
Block "D" Alanvale TAFE
We walked down the steps (stay with us folks, we don’t have all day…) and turned the corner of Block “C” to see our tiny building, Block “D”. As you can see, some bright spark used the letters of the alphabet to designate the importance of the buildings. If this was truly the case, our block would be Block “Z”.
Narf7 avec muffins
Here I am bearing gifts. Well, muffins. “Here I am bearing muffins”. I am also looking in the window of our classroom. The classroom behind me is Screen and Media where we will likely be attending next year. So not all that far to go and not much of a view change as it would turn out…
Block "D" Common room
This is our common room. As you can see it’s not very inviting and most of us stay in our classroom in our breaks. One would think that the “creative” industries would offer an environment that would be conducive to creativity but, alas, due to TAFE cutbacks and funding problems the 1970’s decor is the best of a bad lot for us. It does have carpet however and a nice view of the metalwork/tradies below.
Tradies working below
Check out the machinery in the room below us. We rarely see anyone in there but it does add a nice grungy feel to our Morlock prison. The rest of the Design classes are run from Block “A”. they have a lovely modern common room, lovely facilities (that you don’t have to ask for a key to use), beautiful monitors and the best that money can buy. I think they put we reprobates down in the Morlock mines in order to keep an eye on us and so that we don’t incite riot among the beautiful people.

The elation comes from managing to coerce four of the sealed fridges from where we wrangled them inside the back gate, up the steps to the washing line and across the swamp that our backyard area has become. We found a way to pull the very heavy fish farm netting that we covered Sanctuary with up from one of the sides and staked it up with sticks in order that we could heft the fridges through and up the slope to the top of Sanctuary. We started with the smallest to haul which tended to be the freezers as we figured by the time we get to the very big and heavy fridges we don’t really want to be hauling them up that soggy slope that threatened to suck our gumboots right off of our feet this morning. We managed to scoop out enough of the mud to place the fridges roughly where they are going to be situated and tomorrow we will be hauling bricks to use to level them out as well as deconstructing the other areas where we are going to put lines of fridges.

Fridge wickers in place
We hauled the fridge wickers up to Sanctuary and dumped them ceremoniously before heading back to the warmth and safety of the house with visions of sugar plum fairies and leveling them quickly in place the next day…
Day 2 in the fridge wicking saga
As you can see the reality turned into a nightmare. All of our wellie action on the marshy ground caused a reaction with the silty clay soil and brought a large quantity of water to the surface. Trying to place a heavy fridge so that it would be nice and level, in half a metre of quick mud was always going to end in tears.
Sinking in the quick mud
Steve was the first casualty in the mud wars. Earl spent a fair bit of his time watching the curious squelching mud rise and fall. He was fascinated by it and his beak was permanently welded to anything that was squelching.
The mud is almost up to Steve's knees
As you can see it went from bad to worse. The more we traipsed around in the mud, the deeper it got. At one stage, Steve had a stack of bricks over half a metre high to attempt to ground the fridges in the mud and that was never going to work or make the fridges stable. We decided to call it a day/week/howeverlongittakes at that point.
Final resting place of the first 4 fridge wickers for now
This is how we left Sanctuary Saturday afternoon and we haven’t been back. It is highly likely that we won’t be back for the foreseeable future.

The trepidation is from the enormity of the enterprise. We tend not to do anything by halves. The old adage “start out as you mean to finish off” is a goodn’ especially when you may as well haul 24 fridges up into Sanctuary as 4. The mud, the running stream, the depressing site of vegetation in the winter and the ever-present whitefly add to the air of desperation. This is my “vegetable garden’s” 5th evolution. It’s changed form almost as much as The Doctor has. We have had to keep evolving and changing our ideas as nature, pest species, wildlife, drought etc. have made their presence felt and taught us some life lessons that we needed to take on board. Climate change means that we will need to know how to garden smarter, not harder and thus we need to find ways to give us what we want sustainably. All of this work, sealing, hauling, situating, filling and planting out our fridge wickers will be worth it come spring but at the moment we are right at the beginning of the process and the knowledge of what we still have to do far outweighs its virtues.

Yacon and Jerusalem artichokes
The sum of my yacon harvest and some of the Jerusalem artichokes present and accounted for.
Some of our potato harvest
The start of my spud picking. It is amazing what a body will do when they should be helping their husband with the fridges when he is up to his knees in mud…
Pepino fruit
I actually harvested this pepino fruit the other day. Another good thing about using wicking beds will be that we are actually able to reach, and harvest, our crops. I had to do calisthenics to get to this fruit. I have the seeds of a slug chewed compatriot drying out to experiment with growing the from seed but I might just eat this one.

There are some decidedly dirty rooty things in my kitchen. Seriously, who first started rootling around in the soil, found a grubby root and thought “That’ll do me!” And how many of our poor little ancestors had to drop to the floor clutching their throats in order to give us the wealth of vegetably and tubery goodness that we have available to us today. I am ever the experimentrix. Most of my experiments end in tears or covered in whiteflies but that has never stopped me from plotting my next crop of something new. The fridge wicking beds are going to be planted out with veggies that we actually like. If I have learned nothing from our past experimentation, it’s that a lot of experimental veg are not something that Steve is going to eat. I have a half kilo of oca tubers that I am going to store and grow in the wicking beds as I found out recently that they have interesting antifungal properties, especially when planted with tomatoes. I have a yacon tuber that needs replanting so that we can keep growing this interesting plant that can be used to produce a sweet natural syrup but that I have never been able to harvest enough of to try it.

Fridge wicking beds turned right side up to collect water
We have at least turned the fridge wicking beds up the right way now to test if they will hold water (and mosquitoes)
Small egg
I used the sunglasses to show you how tiny this hens egg I found underneath our resident clucky chook was. I didn’t realise that I had inadvertently created the parts of Bert (from Sesame Street) that remain when you remove everything but his sunglasses and his nose…
Drowning succulents
This is Shrek. Shrek is a succulent that I bought WAY back when he was a $2 purchase in a tiny pot. He is no longer tiny and he is currently doing his best not to drown in Sanctuary.
Earl in the car 1
“Are we going for a drive?!”
Earl in the car 2
“We’re not going for a drive are we…sigh…”

I have a hearty crop of Fartychokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) that I love and that I am going to eat prolifically and damn the results! I can always blame Earl. There are spuds of all kinds in the soggy mud at the back of Sanctuary and the young berries have decided to repopulate the earth and we are hauling their rootley little tendrils out as we go. I might pot them up and use them for swapsies at plant and seed swaps.

Mother of all mangelwurzels
Here is the mother of all mangelwurzels. It is approximately 40cm long and growing bigger every day. As you can see there is a lot of rooty potential plus some tasty leafage to be repeat harvested at our leisure. Mangelwurzels are going to feature predominately in the future of Sanctuary.

I have the mother of all mangel-wurzel’s that I am loath to uproot but we are going to have to find a new place for it to sprawl as it is right in the flight path of a line of fridge wickers. Hopefully if we dig it up it will be happy in a new spot as I want to harvest the seeds from this magnificent beast. Mangel-wurzel’s are one of those veg that gives twice the bang for your buck. You get that magnificently ugly root as well as silverbeet like leaves that are delicious. They tend to be pest free and I think that they have a lot of value as a dual purpose crop. Anything that gives you more than one result is a bonus in my book. I actually got turmeric this year as well folks “SQUEE!” My pot experiments yielded a decent crop from a few tubers that I accumulated. I plan on repotting some of the results as they grew so well in big pots on the deck this year, and I also plan on planting out one of the small freezer compartments of one of the fridge wickers with some to see how they grow. I want to get hold of some lemon grass and some ginger as well to see if I can’t grow them here also.

Chris Adams TasTAFE Media lecturer
This is Chris Adams. He taught us the basic foundations, and how to build on them for media. He is a man of many interests, most of them interesting and thus Steve and I remain friends with him to this day. Here you see him showing (off) us his new youbeaut drone.
Drone in flight
The drone was awesome to watch. Chris filmed our class watching the drone and showed us the footage in the screen class. The footage was seamless, very high quality and not at all jerky. Very professional and impressive to say the least. I can see a lot of applications where a clever person could make money from owning a drone.
Lichen on a stick
We have a LOT of lichen in Sidmouth. We could probably start a lichen farm we have so very much of it. If you check out the last link in this blog post, and you have a surplus of lichen too, you could dye your own socks or make cheap aftershave. Go read the post to make sense of what I just said.
Alanvale TAFE vineyard
Chris was checking out Steve’s Nikon and took this photo of the vineyards at Alanvale TAFE. We considered studying viticulture after finishing our Horticulture diploma’s but decided to make a clean break and head off to learn something new. We didn’t go far, the horticulture building is just around the corner from Block “D”

 

Well to say “the best laid plans of mice and men…” would be an understatement at the moment folks. Serendipity Swamp has delivered a lot of challenges up until now (most of them easily fixed by the purchase of a decent pair of wellies) but we hit our very first, and most importantly, MAJOR snag in our fridge wicking process on Saturday. It has been wet around here. It has been VERY wet around here but we tend to not let it bother us and we soldier on regardless because the converse/flip side is that in about 5 months it is going to be dry here…VERY dry (you get the picture) so we are enjoying this respite from all things brown, crispy and arid while we can. We stoically lugged 6 of the 24 fridge wickers through the back gate and past the suspicious eyes of Earl-the-wonder-dog (who must be obeyed apparently but we keep forgetting that last bit…) who has the sneaking suspicion that we are attempting to erect barricades to prevent easy access to the cats on the front deck. After we had squelched and maneuvered the fourth fridge into the soggy area next to our summer ovens (bbq’s) we returned with the fifth to find Earl had insinuated himself in the space we had left between the fridges as if to say “leave me SOME room to zoom!” We acquiesced and he got his runway…

Steve holding about half a kilogram of oca
This brown paper bag constitutes the sum total of our oca harvest. We started out with 5 wizened tiny oca tubers from the lady who lives up the road and despite some seriously compromised growing conditions, we ended up with an actual harvest!
Oca tubers
I will be saving most of these to replant in the fridge wickers to act as antifungal agents and as green mulch. The foliage has a pleasant lemony taste and is most appreciated by possums 😉
Where the tubers go to hide in the dark
This is where the tubers go to hide in the dark in the spare room. I have been spurred into action recently and am going to galvanise my (lazy) bones to contact the local spinning group that meets at the Deviot Hall to see if I can’t attend their meetings and learn how to use my spinning wheel. I have carded fleece that I can use to learn with so I really don’t have any excuses now do I?

 

After we assembled the smallest of the fridge/freezer wickers (as they were going to have to be lugged all the way up the hill to the back of Sanctuary) in a motley collective inside the gate, we set about hauling them up to Sanctuary. Nothing is easy on Serendipity Farm and this endeavour didn’t buck the trend. In order to get fridge wickers into Sanctuary we have to negotiate a steep set of steps, wrangle the fridge carcasses through the small orchard of fruit trees that stoically refuse to give in to possum predation, then we had to find a way to lift the side of Sanctuary that we had nailed with extreme prejudice to anything that would take a nail in order to dissuade the same possums that feast on our stone fruit from also feasting on our veggies. We ended up with another motley collective of star pickets, sticks, and half of an old oar holding up the heavy (wet) ex fish farm netting so that we could haul the fridges under the side and then try not to slide down the slippery slope to ruin (ruin being the bottom of Sanctuary where the REAL mud lives) with the final objective of delivering 4 of the 6 fridge wickers to the top of Sanctuary whereby we could install them into their final resting place with the casual use of a few old bricks that Steve had assembled earlier (after taking a rush trip to the city to pick them up)

Natalies orchids
This orchid was given to us by our friend and fellow horticultural fiend Natalie. We had a bit of a feud over a disagreeance a few years ago and stopped moving in the same circles but time heals and we recently made it up and for the very first time this year, the orchid that Nat gave us has flowered. Coincidence? Perhaps 🙂

Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well they say a picture tells a thousand words. In the images we have shared are a few thousand words worth of pictures to explain why the process didn’t quite go to plan…
And so you see our predicament. Do we continue sinking in the mud and attempting to pack an endless supply of bricks under the rapidly disappearing fridge wickers or do we wait till the soil regains some semblance of solidity before we try again? After about 5 minutes of soul searching and a mutually inclusive game of “Paper, rock, scissors” where we tied, we both decided to decamp from the rain, the mud and our sodden bespattered wellies to the warm kitchen and to the promise of a hot beverage of our choice. Over our hot beverages (when we were talking to each other again. We don’t work well together at the best of times and this was NOT the best of times…) we casually discussed our options. Neither of us wanted to admit that we were a. both sure we wouldn’t be able to get our fridge wickers into Sanctuary in the allotted 2 week period that our TAFE calendar year gave us for holidays and that caused nature to laugh uproariously and suck on her trousers and b. we were both secretly VERY happy that we might get to stop squelching around in the mud and decamp to the nice dry, toasty warm house whereby we could read, play computer games, crochet and drink bottomless mugs of hot beverage and enjoy the rest of our holiday. “OH the shame!”

Breeks
Aren’t these old bricks pretty? We were given these bricks 7 years ago and they remained in a nice neat cube in the driveway at our daughters home in the city. Steve plundered the pile on Saturday morning and now this half of the pile have been relocated to Serendipity Farm.
Dog tags supposed to last a lifetime HA!
These are the new dog tags for 2016 – infinity. Apparently they are supposed to last forever as they no longer give us a new one each year. This smacks of “save money” rather than “sustainable convenience”, the message that we are being sold by the West Tamar Council. I think they should sell metal tags that you can get engraved. We would pay $10 extra each tag to have that privilege but these plastic tags might be a tad thicker than the annual ones BUT that lettering on the plastic will be gone as fast as the lettering on the old annual tags so I really don’t know how they are supposed to last the lifetime of the dogs.

And thus you find me tapping away at 5.42am on Monday morning. We turned all of the upside down fridge wickers right side up to let the rain fall in them so that we can see if any of them leak as our concession to keeping moving with the processes. Our hearts might be (momentarily) heavy, but our feet are dry and as soon as the soil gains a semblance of solidity we will be back out there hauling fridges. Earl is happy with the two fridges that we left inside the house fence as he has something new to pee on and protect, Bezial could care less as he goes outside as little as possible at the moment. We have been promised a doozy of a cold front for the next few days so we have stocked up on chopped wood and have hunkered down for the duration. I am working on a few crochet projects and will be picking up my (virgin) Tunisian hooks in order to make my high school bestie Kym, a pair of these. Aren’t they tasty? It’s her birthday soon and she deserves a pair of these to wear under her office desk and pretend that she is actually wearing shoes. I also need to use my Tunisian hooks STAT as Steve gave them to me last year as part of my birthday gifts after I hinted most squeaky-wheely for months about “needing” some and if I don’t use them I will look like a most ungrateful git, my squeaky wheel technique will lose it’s power and I may not get a gift at all this year so  its a win-win/SCORE moment as soon as I pick up those hooks for everyone methinks.

http://mrsmicawber.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/birchbark-slippers-pattern-tutorial.html

While we were doing our best not to sink into the quick-mud that our line of fridges generated at an alarming rate, I set about attempting to salvage a bit of dignity in the process. I decided to use the fact that I could actually “dig” our soil (in summer it’s rock hard. Think ceramic plate on steroids. Yeah. That hard…) and I harvested some yacon from our poor long suffering whitefly infested specimen, some oca, some turmeric (“squee!”) and about 10kg of spuds from the manure and oak leaf pile where I stuff any spuds that develop sprouts into. We buy our spuds in 10kg bags (spuds is Aussie for “potatoes” folks) and even though we go through them at an alarmingly quick rate, sometimes they do get to set sprouts and as much as I hate to not eat potatoes, I also don’t want to become ill from eating sprouty spuds so we tend to have an endless supply of potatoes thanks to our relatively frost free conditions. I know that there are lots more potatoes in the soil but that’s the best place for them till we want to eat them. I just realised that I have already talked about these veggies at the top of this blog post. I started the post on Thursday before we attempted to level the fridge wickers and as a. most of you don’t bother to read all of my posts, b. if you do, they are SO long you will have most probably forgotten what you have read at the top by this point and c. I am too lazy to throw away precious words in the name of not repeating myself (why spoil the habits of a lifetime?) so you are stuck with dual information for the duration of this post.

Tellytubbylala
Here is my rainbow Tellytubbylala partially made. He looks a bit like Rayman at the moment but I should have finished him by the end of today. I have to finish his enormous head and make him a hat and give him eyes. Then it’s time to start on the Tunisian hooky and make some slippers. I love this crafting lark!
Our car now fits in the shed
The logical progression from clearing out the shed was to park the car in the shed. “Tick”. Next we need to make Lissa a wooden spoon in the shed. A “Tick” most heartily overdue!
Steve's shed
You can tell that Steve and I are exact opposites by the reaction that we have to this scene.

By the way, if anyone is at all interested, I have long lusted after those lalylala doll patterns that have insinuated themselves at the top of the dolly food chain (type it in a Google search, you know you want to 😉 ). They look like glorified Telly Tubbies and I love the shape of them. Nothing “super-model” about lalylala dolls! I lust after them but I can’t justify paying for one of the patterns so I headed off (as I do) and went looking for a knock-off. Much like Chinese knock-offs, you can find some very good and some very BAD examples of “knock-off” so you really have to do a fair bit of homework to arrive at the end product you desire. After a few months of casual rootling around (Pinterest I love you) I suddenly produced the magic combination of “right place, right time, right query, right result” that eventuated in me finding this excellent blog and this very clever crafty lady whose dolls do a sterling impersonation of lalylala dolls. SO sterling in fact that she had to remove 2 of her patterns because the lalylala lady made some Germanic threats. I figure the German lalylala lady pinched the idea from the Telly Tubbies anyway and is quite lucky that the creators of Telly Tubbies don’t come hunting for a “cease and desist” notice in her direction but such is life and we still have the basic patterns that are easy to customise to make our own FREE lalylala knock offs. There are a few patterns on the site but I used this one to make my “whatevertheheckitis” doll that I will be giving away as soon as I make as I love the process but rarely have any use, myself, for the results of what I crochet.

http://meo-my-crochet.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/bunny-pattern-perfected.html

And so we take a brief hiatus in the fridge wicking posts for the moment. As soon as we have more to share about what we are doing we will. Until then, I will share what I am reading, hooking, baking and doing and hopefully that will keep you all amused until then. Before I go, check out this most scrumptious blog post from a fellow Aussie blogger in Queensland. Her property could be the sister property for ours and so she knows how difficult it is to do anything at all with what is available on site. Every time I read one of her blog posts, I move a teensy bit closer to attempting to make a pair of socks…Catch you soon.

https://ravensridge.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/an-australiana-sock-experiment/

Earl is the coit stick
Remember the old game of coits? You throw a ring around a stick from a distance. This is extreme coiting. Best of luck getting that ring on there twice (or retrieving the ring once you achieved your objective 😉 )
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42 Comments Add yours

  1. My socks have been ripped back again and languish as a rewound ball of yarn – Bianca’s last post had me roaring with laughter til I was clutching my sides – her activity v mine just makes for an uproarious comedy! My fabulous Tunisian crochet vest has just come to a screaming halt because the pattern has eaten up all the yarn and there is no more of that batch available at the LYS ………. I love Tunisian crochet – it is my new love, but have lots more yarn than you think you will need. Another project being ripped back to balls of yarn. Sigh!! My yarn adventures are probably just a quieter and less muddy version of your fridge tales. However giving up is never an option – its just a case of keeping at it til something works out. Yes? Enjoy your holiday in the warm doing fun things – though I won’t be at all surprised to hear you spend most of it out in the mud doing battle with those slopes and heavy fridges…… I just know you will come up with a solution and can’t wait to hear what it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I have frogged more than my fair share of crochet projects in my time. I will take your advice about getting more wool than I think I need. I think the pattern gives an estimate so I will just add a few extra balls to that. Its pouring down at the moment and our front garden has turned into a rivulet. SO glad I have a nice stack of wood just waiting for Brunhilda’s gustatory delight and I don’t have to go down and chop any 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha boohoo hoo I was simultaneously laughing and crying throughout this post! What can you do other than what you are doing hey, accept the occasional inconvenient bastardry of nature… Grrrr…I feel for you. (I think the mini cyclone that only hit our street and dropped a tree on the chook pen has to be one of my favourites…not) But man you guys work soooo freaking hard! I am in awe. That wheel looks a beauty, at first I thought it was an Ashford traditional like mine but it has six spokes not eight, so it is probably a Sheridan MacArthur. Lovely. 😃 the pic of the shed absolutely cracked me up. Tunisian crochet is horribly wonderfully addictive, Pauline is right, get buckets more yarn than you think you need! I had spin club this morning…first rule of spin club, don’t talk about spin club…(but it was FANTASTIC!!!!) thanks also for the mention 😊 wishing you both an amazing week 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Cheers Ms W. I don’t know what my wheel is but it cost me $100 on Gumtree which I thought was a bit of a bargain. I am starting to think I might need a carton of wool to make those slippers! You are welcome about the share but to be honest, I consider your blog posts more of a valuable resource to be treasured than that and I am sure my dear constant readers feel as lucky as I do whenever they get to read one of them. We have a very large old dead gum tree directly behind the chook shed. It is starting to list alarmingly but it is listing in the direction of the border fence between our house and the neighbours so when it falls it shouldn’t squish the chook shed but it is so close, I hope the root system is pretty much gone or it might take half of the chook shed with it! We do live interesting lives our in the sticks don’t we? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post…am exhausted just reading it, can’t imagine how you must be feeling with so much going on. But I have to confess I am still chortling at the thought of parched thirsty mounds and fartychokes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I haven’t sampled the delicious fartychokes yet but I am working on it 😉

      Like

  4. Kim Hood says:

    You guys really work hard! I’m exhausted just thinking about hauling those fridges around. Still, once the work is done it should be labour saving (although you will have earned it!). I’m still chuckling about ‘fartychokes’. Too funny.😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      We got to 4 in the grand total of fridges being hauled around and had to stop as they were sinking in quick mud faster than we could brick them up so we now have to wait for it to stop raining and the ground to dry out a bit before we carry on. In the meantime I will be learning to spin, hooking up a storm and working out how to populate the wicking beds without growing something that Steve dislikes immensely (not difficult as he tends to only like peas, potatoes and carrots 😉 )

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  5. missmaudy says:

    Oh, my darling old doggie didn’t like wearing collars, and nor did he like the tags. He’d take off the collar, eat the tag and bury the remains of the collar in the back yard. I did stop the collar thing by getting one that needed opposable thumbs to open, but the tags? I don’t know how he did it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      He was brilliant that’s how. You were the (dubiously) lucky owner of the reincarnation of Houdini 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. foodnstuff says:

    Oh, dear, what a bloody, muddy time for you. You will get there, I’m sure. You are way ahead of me with harvests. Oca and yacon still have green leaves and although the turmeric in its pot has turned all yellow, I’m afraid to dig it up in case there’s no tubers and the disappointment will be too much to bear. The cold front has just hit us…..it is 8 degrees in my living room at the moment, snow is forecast for Melbourne (yes, Melbourne!) and a huge swamp gum has come down in the wind at the back of the block, which I don’t even want to know about.

    I’m off to light the wood fire and hibernate by it for the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I just harvested the oca in a pot that also contains a tree chilli. It had grown from a tiny oca tuber that the rats hadn’t managed to scoff and I didn’t think that there was anything in the pot. I got some seriously huge tubers today from that pot, much bigger than those on the deck. I felt around under the turmeric and couldn’t get my hand down past the tubers so I am thinking I have a reasonable harvest, at least enough to separate and get growing in more pots. We have had so many trees fall down/over that we are entirely blase about it now. We lost our phone/net for 3 days, about 5 weeks after we lost it from high winds and trees dropping over it last time. Hopefully this will be the last time for a while! Enjoy that wood fire and think of all of the lovely wood in that euc!

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  7. Jerusalem artichokes? Pepino? There is truly nothing that you can’t grow! If anyone can cultivate a coconut tree, it would most certainly be you. Goodness, what a dream, to have an endless supply of homegrown coconuts… We could go into business together with you harvesting the coconuts and me turning the shells into bowls. And that’s to say nothing of the delicious goodies we could make with the actual fruit! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      You are ON! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Good luck with the lemongrass and ginger Ms Narf. I’d send you some from here but not sure how it would end up by the time it got to you and…not sure what quarantine would have to say about it either. My lemongrass is definitely happy but not sure about the ginger…who knows what’s going on underneath the soil though.
    The mud at your place, the mud and hauling those fridges through said mud! Hat’s off dear lady. Hat’s off indeed. Hope they work a treat and give you all the green goodness that you both like to eat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Once it dries up a bit here our hats will, most definitely, be off and we will be back to work! 🙂

      Like

  9. Littlesundog says:

    Fartychokes sound like a Southern US sort of thing!! Good gosh! What a muddy, mucky mess! A project like that is difficult enough without adding the mud factor in. Does that EVER dry up? Gads! Poor Earl… If I was there I’d take him for a drive and I’d even let him walk me around!! Ha ha! Nice update… though I will never know how you and Steve manage so much work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      It certainly looks like we work hard but we haven’t done a whole lot of anything since we stopped in Sanctuary. It has been so very wet that trees are falling down everywhere. The power company would hate this weather as we have a lot of trees out our way and thus, a lot of power lines being tumbled by falling trees. Summer will be bone dry and the poor things will have to work hard to find water but for the moment they are swimming in it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow Fran, that was a lot of heaving and tugging through mud and nets to get those fridges to their positions.. But you DID it 🙂 and think of how much less you will be bending your back.. And once you have it watered you will have beautiful crops..

    Thankyou for showing us where you study for your 3 days a week.. No wonder you go baring gifts lol.. 🙂
    And love your little tellytubby 😉
    And you should see our garage.. Hubby has to take things out to walk in. And woe betide me if I ask has he seen something that is often right at the back of the garage.. 🙂 But he is clearing it in dribs and drabs 🙂 and in around 10 yrs I dare say it will be just the same lol..
    He says well, the kids will have a field day after we have gone.. It will take them a year to sort out LOL 🙂
    Love the picture of Earl.. 🙂
    Wishing you a HAPPY WEEK.. And sending lots of love Fran xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Steve says that he knows where EVERYTHING is in that shed. Sometimes it takes him about 15 minutest to find it but he “knows where it is!” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. haha.. yes my hubby is the same.. but sometimes it takes a while to move everything just to get to it.. 🙂 xx

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi, I think it was a good idea deciding to work with nature rather than struggle against it. Nature was clearly telling you and Steve to retire to the indoors and let it get on with sending down more mud producing rain for which you will be extremely grateful at some point in the next few months. Are your water tanks full to overflowing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      EVERYTHING is full to overflowing here in Tassie Margaret ;). The soil is so sodden, rivers are now swamps. I am honestly not complaining because I know that come summer, we are going to be bone dry and all of those poor half drowned trees will be water stressed so at least they will spend a part of the year with (more than) enough water. Our driveway is a twin riverlet where the constant running water has eroded two deep channels (over a foot deep) but there is no point attempting to fix it yet as anything that we do will just wash away with the next rains. It’s actually funny to head off every morning and wonder if we are going to sink up to our axles and have to dig ourselves out. 3 cheers for 4 x 4 cars eh? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Robbie says:

    “It’s changed form almost as much as The Doctor has”
    LOL-TOO FUNNY:-) I can relate. My garden is smaller but it changes a lot too.
    wow-fridges in the mud, I would probably end up in the emergency room. I would have one fall on top of me-I tend to be accident prone lately! I am getting too old to do things like that but I have to remember you are a shade younger than me. I need to play catch-up and read the story behind the fridges. Are they to be like raised beds?

    You are the queen of “life long learners” and I admire that-You are doing what I tell my adult children. You have to learn throughout life and never quit. My son is home from Boston and thinking about returning to school. He said, “Mom, evern when you are in college you have to teach yourself how to do things too. You can’t just be dependent on them teaching you everything.” In this world today it is changing so rapidly that if you don’t read and keep up to date you will be left behind. However, some things like nature just teach us in a more gentle way. The classroom is out there and you learn as you go along.

    I love your desire to fight the obstacles your space presents at time. I hope I can keep that fighting spirit and not give up as I get older. I hope my body keeps working for me and never gives out on me-but gosh, I don’t know those fridges are really big and must be heavy..and that mud-…I am looking forward to the conclusion of this story and the spring space. I am eager to see how you use them in your Sanctuary!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      So are we Robbie, so are we! But first, we have to get all of those fridges up to Sanctuary (and they are all half full of water now as we were testing to see if they held water). The gardening system is called “water wicking” and involves using a sealed “container” (in this case fridges as they only cost us about $2 each from the tip shop) to garden in. You end up losing a LOT less water to evaporation and you need less watering, and with a longer duration in between. If you guys live in the midwest and its usually dry in summer, this is perfect for you. It can be done in smaller containers but I am going for the size of a fridge as they give a good width to mass ratio and have built in thermal mass. I get very excited thinking about veggie gardening in them but then I remember I still have to help haul all of them up to Sanctuary and that brings me back down with a THUMP lol! My idea is that you are only “old” when you stop learning and give up. Never give up Robbie, you are one of lifes good people and you teach by your wonderful example. Our 93 (in a few weeks) year old neighbour still potters around her 5 acres. She walks on a track up the back of her steep block, walks down her steep driveway to get the mail every day, goes to the city with her daughter to shop and is in really good health for her age. She lives on her own! She doesn’t want anyone else taking over her life and that’s exactly how I want to be when I get older. I certainly feel old when I have helped drag fridges over our steep rocky terrain I can tell you but it soon wears off and the end result is that you have something to show for your effort. Steve and I are learning how to code phone apps. I am 53 and many people my age are not very computer literate. I don’t run to being computer literate but you would be amazed at how much a numpty can learn! My eldest daughter is studying with us this year. Like Steve, she is pretty cluey when it comes to computers and coding. I am not. I call we three the “dump sandwich” as I am the “dumb” between the two smartypants ;). I just refuse to stop learning. I do everything I can to learn something new every day and it delights my soul. I will keep doing this no matter what as we are what we eat and that goes for your mind as well. BIG hugs Robbie and so glad to see you visiting 🙂

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  13. Hi Fran, I am sure you are busy busy as per usual.. Just thinking about you today as I have been in the allotment all morning. And was telling hubby about your fridges etc.. as I weeded out our 4 raised beds..
    Hope all is well as you study and prepare the Sanctuary for what will be your Spring.
    Sending love and Hugs
    Sue xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I’ts almost spring here and the ground is still too wet to move the fridges but it is starting to dry up (she says as the sky looks like it is about to drop a tonne of rain again 😉 ) I refuse to complain as this summer will probably be incredibly dry and I will wish for some of that ground water again. Studying like crazy and our lecturer has gone off on long service leave so we are working on our final assessments at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thinking of you, and Hope your spring drys up for you soon… In the mean time good luck with your assessments.. xxx Love Sue xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        Cheers Sue. It’s actually the first day of Spring and the water is starting to dry out. It has been absolutely gorgeous today (17C) and even though we still needed our wellies to walk the dogs in the park, it was a glorious walk with lots of sunshine 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It is officually our first day of Autumn today and thankfully we still have Sun 🙂 Hope it continues to warm up and dry out 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  14. just being nosey and seeing if I missed anything Fran.. sending thoughts your way as Spring gets underway for all of the hard work yet to be done..
    We got the potatoes up on one of the hottest humid of days, we both nearly collapsed I tell you.. So do not know how you all work in your heat of Summer over there..
    The Summer here is holding on it seems..
    Hope things are drying out a little, and also hope both of your studying is going well also..
    Have a great new week..
    Love and Hugs my friend
    Sue xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Cheers Sue. We are “flat out like a lizard drinking”here with working on our final assessment websites and pretty soon it will be holidays and time to haul the rest of those fridges up to Sanctuary and get going. Slightly terrifying but exciting at the same time 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thinking of you both and wishing you well with your assessments and the fridge hauling.. ( watch those backs ) xxx ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Robbie says:

    I REALLY like your blog look!!! Just beautiful and smooth to use:-) It flows nicely. I can’t wait to see your fridge growing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I haven’t posted much as I have been flat out like a lizard drinking with my assessments this year plus it has been SO wet here! I just went up to Sanctuary to empty the compost bin. Usually I let Stevie-boy do it but I bit the bullet and had a look. o_O It is like a fully fledged swamp up there. I was wearing wellington boots and a lucky thing too as it was like going to the San Andrius tar pits!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robbie says:

        Just found this comment today-sorry so late, I have been in the garden busy working. Oh, I don’t miss spring messes. We are so wet and muddy around here, but the good thing is it means winter has passed! I did not post much this summer, I just was to frustrated with all the work around me and EVERYTHING is breaking and needs to be replaced. UGH…lol..oh well, home ownership. Hope it dries up and you get outside soon:-)

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Robbie says:

    Did it look like this last time I stopped by and posted above??? I really like it what you have done..wow-sister from the down under:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Just another fly by.. Hope your backs are standing up to the fridge moves if moved..
    I thought I would see if anything was new.. Happy Spring.. and I will get back to you after my Hols.. another trip to Scotland.. So see you when I get back.. Hugs Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Have a fantastic time away Sue. We just moved 2 big fridges into the house compound and transplanted 4 ancient blueberry shrubs into them so fingers crossed, that’s the start! I fear I might be crippled soon as just that effort almost killed me. I feel like I just went 4 rounds with the blueberries and it was a knockout! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh so feel for you.. I thought you would be moving them soon.. 🙂 We have some work to do on our home garden when we return.. I may well take a few photos of what we plan to do.. But yes we are going to rest up a little and hubby will be having a wee dram or two in the Highlands Lol.. 😉 And your blue berries will love the moisture, ours were lacking that this year and suffered.. So fingers and toes crossed xxx Love to you xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Just felt like dropping by to share a little love. ❤ I miss your posts but hope it's all good things that are keeping you occupied these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Hi Ms Hannah :). After a particularly long and incredibly damp winter we haven’t been able to do pretty much anything in the garden at all except wear gumboots to get from the back door to the car and back. The fridge wickers were half full of water and we had to bail them out and stand them up except for the fridge wicker that is full of tadpoles! We left that with water in for the frogs to grow. Once it stops raining (more to the point…IF it stops raining…) we will be able to get our fridge wickers out and start creating this new waterwise garden. Till then we have 5 weeks left of our course and are at the pointy end that keeps reminding us that we really need to get a move on. Having to produce copious quantities of “bampf” to accompany the actual work so all of that dotting “i’s” and crossing “t’s” and double checking so you haven’t forgotten anything is mentally labourious. As soon as this course is finished I will be back in pog form and raring to go 🙂 Glad to see someone missed me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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