How to fall off the face of the earth in one easy lesson

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Hi All,

See when winter comes and stays…and stays…and STAYS it’s hard to be motivated to do anything other than stay indoors, read, crochet and hibernate. Consider my absence from my blog a stay of hibernation. Spring has been wrestling with winter in a most determined way of late. Things are flowering when they aren’t being drowned by another deluge. The sun has actually shone a few times. I may, or may not, have NOT needed my wellington boots to make it down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, twin waterfall prone driveway and I finally decided “BOLLOCKS to the rain. I am going to plant out a couple of fridge wickers…

Home grown pepino fruit
One that the rats didn’t want (more like they were too full to bother with this tiddler!)
Large manglewurzel left in the ground to go to seed
This large manglewurzel has been left in the ground to go to seed. I have decided that I really like crops that you get double use from (beetroots and their leaves etc.) and this one promises a lot. I haven’t been up to Sanctuary to take a look at this for a while. Might be time to check for seed heads methinks.

On the plus side, I am getting the hang of this HTML thing. I have made a friend a website. She lost her job and has been having trouble finding another one. Seems in Tasmania, Australia, there are forty quadrillion people vying for every job and the sticking point is that there is roughly half a job a month being offered so you get the picture. The jobs are going to the girls with the biggest boobs who are between the ages of 17 and 18. My middle aged friend refuses to give up and is going to create her own job. She has started a business pet sitting in people’s homes. Seems a lot of people actually love their pets and don’t want to subject them to the impersonal, often inhospitable, nature of kennels and she is picking up a steady clientele of people who want to book her for their holidays. I made her a website using a template and she is pleased with it.

Steve with his head in a towel.
Swami Steve ready to answer your fortunes if you cross his palms with your credit card (silver is SO passe folks! πŸ˜‰ )
Puddle under our front gate.
Wet…wet…WET. I feel like I am in a Chekhov novel “will the rains never end…”

We are in the process of getting it up and running at the moment and I am working on a clients website (my next-year-lecturer George who has been VERY nice and let me make him a website for his business) for my final assessment at the same time. I will share the URL when we get it up and running so that you can all marvel at how a 53 year old, dyed in the wool Luddite, could even get her head around HTML let alone learn how to make and upload a website to a server. It’s a story. It’s a LONG story and I will just leave it up to your imagination but it involved/s (still running) long periods of tourettes like swearing and facial tic’s and a very patient husband and equally patient eldest daughter who sit on either side of me in class and prevent me from physically strangling my lecturer at any given time.

Whipped tofu water
This is an experiment to see if something I had read on a vegan forum might be true. It is. You CAN whip the water that tofu comes packed in to make foam. It isn’t very stable and you would want to incorporate it into mayo or something like that quickly before it deflates but this is amazing!
Little river in Paper Beach.
We took this photo this morning. It’s of a tiny riverlet that is usually scummy, covered in algal bloom and entirely unattractive. It would seem that this endless rain we have been having has been of some good somewhere.

Next year we will be studying Screen and Media. Making films folks. Hey, “In for a penny, in for a pound…” may as well learn how to turn my ludditism into something that I can visually express. The end results of next years study should have me producing a short drama and a short documentary. I have some ideas about approaching a friend from my horticulture years who taught/teaches disabled people how to garden and who is involved heavily with community gardening to see if she will let me follow her around like a puppy to show how positive an experience gardening can be in people’s lives. Or I might make a documentary involving “A day in the life of Earl” whereby I strap a camera to Earl and let him run free…on second thoughts, I don’t think that Steve and I could afford the litigation on that one!

Banksia roses.
One of Steve’s arty shots.
Custom tea cosy
I made this tea cosy for a friend’s kitchen warming. I have had the little teapot since I moved in here and wasn’t using it so decided to gift it to my friend. Do you like the little tam-o-shanter hat? I had to come up with a whole lot of interesting ways to get this to fit as I basically just started with a magic circle and went from there. It worked and I added another thick pad of crochet inside to keep the teapot toasty warm. The lid handle is the top of a softdrink bottle that I found on the side of the road but “SHHHH!” (don’t tell Roxie that πŸ˜‰
Homebrew beer
Our friend Jenny is a most determined lady. She was getting tired of spending a fortune on beer so she started making her own. It’s darned good too!

There comes a time when you have to admit that you might just have made a mistake about something that you have invested a lot of time, energy and effort into. Sanctuary appears to be the case in point. I love Sanctuary. It’s my little possum/wallaby free space where I tried to grow food. It took a LOT of water, a lot of tears and a lot of frustration to admit to myself that this space just wasn’t giving me what I needed it to. I am in the process of abandoning growing my veggies in Sanctuary and turning over our veggie production to water wicking fridges. I haven’t entirely given up on Sanctuary yet. There is a garden down the road. I think it’s about 3 years old now, where the owner espaliered 3 rows of fruit producing trees and vines and that currently is a mass of flowers and possibilities. I have decided that Sanctuary is going to be our fruit producing area. I have currants, all sorts of fruiting vines and small citrus trees growing in Sanctuary and plans of irrigating the area in a grid-work. I will be planting out rows of fruit trees, mulching them heavily and seeing how it eventuates. Sanctuary won’t die, she will just evolve. Change is good. I keep telling myself that. My inner self doesn’t like it, but I am learning to admit that sometimes my comfort zone is a bit of a prison. Time for a change.

Finished Lalylala style doll
I showed you in my last blog post (last century wasn’t it?) the beginnings of my lalylala style doll. I had most cleverly found an alternative pattern (alternative to paying for it that is) and tinkered with it till I was happy with the results. I wanted to see if I could make one but I didn’t actually want it so I offered it on Facebook to anyone who would like it. Ms T from the amazing blog The Twisted Yarn put her hand up for her boys and as she was the only one who took an interest in it, it was hers. Problem was that it was a doll, it was “1” doll when there were 2 boys and it was a doll! So what’s a girl to do but…
Base of monster number 2
Make another one and turn them both into monster/dinosaur dolls! This is the start of doll number 2. I used the same lalylala style pattern and then used a stack of bits and pieces of other patterns I found online to customise the heck out of them. Ms T is an UBER good crocheter so I had some serious stressful moments. I also reinforced their heads just in case they didn’t go down too well with the boys and they decided to use them as frisbees πŸ˜‰
2 monster dolls
Here’s the finished dolls. The first one (you might recognise from above) was converted to a dinosaur with little wings, a dinosaur tail and spines all down his back. The second one… er… well he was the result of Ms T showing a monster that she had casually knocked up after being sent a freebie monster book. I HAD to make sure mine stood up to scrutiny! Anyhoo…here they are. Those spots took ages but I think the barnacle effect was worth it.

I mentioned reading above and I have enjoyed reading a few novels as well as grazing my permaculture and cookbooks over the winter-that-never-ends. I just KNOW I am going to regret typing that in about a month when The-summer-that-refuses-to-bugger-off starts and the process of Serendipity Farm becoming a dehiscent husk begins the process over again but for now, we are wallowing in mud and as much as I love winter/rain/water/tadpoles, I am being driven a teensy bit mad by not being able to start the processes that I have normally begun around about now each year. Brunhilda should be a blissful memory but she is still in force, guzzling down the last vestiges of wood that we have taken to grubbing from all over the place. The good thing about making wicking fridges is that they need a fair bit of “roughage” in the bottom of them and I use chopped up branches and twigs as they are biodegradable and will add to the mix so the dead branches of long fallen soldiers live on intertwined with my prospective oca tuber planting of 2016. I have SO many ideas and so little time now to implement them but we will get there.

Fungus
One good thing about all of the rain is that the mushrooms had a brilliant year. Lucky I love mushrooms eh? πŸ˜‰
Beautiful seed heads of our big old Japanese maple tree.
Beautiful seed heads of our big old Japanese maple tree.

I have leeks/elephant garlic! I was walking (who am I kidding, ” Earl was walking ME”…) Earl the other day and ended up navigating down to Bonnie Beach, a beautiful little volcanic sandy beach almost directly opposite Serendipity Farm. When I gaze “over the river” that’s what I see. There are some magnificent old oak trees in our neighbourhood. It was obviously a tiny enclave a long time ago where people decided to settle and stoically plant trees from the auld country. Oaks are one of those trees that keep on keeping on. There will be Aussie eucalyptus croaking all around them and the oak trees, like the stoics that planted them, point blank refuse to give up and indeed thrive. We have them in various stages of growth all over the place here. I am sure that my dad would have topped them if he saw them but I am leaving them. ALL of them. I have this statement that plays over and over in my head that says “Not in MY lifetime” and I smile whenever I plant something that one day will be a massive pain in the arse for someone else. “Not sorry”. We NEED more trees. These little oak trees grew from oak leaf mould that my dad spread around the place when he was alive. It would be about 17 years ago as I am quite sure that once his determined partner died he stopped doing anything in the garden and the harvest of his (albeit “forced”) effort is a plethora of little oak trees. We keep adding oak leaves to the mix and they keep obliging us by growing. We have one bordering Sanctuary that must be a fair age as it has acorns every year. Far from being annoyed I am delighted. Acorns are a food crop. You can prepare and eat them. You can use them as flour. If they want to grow here, they can. I actually replanted a little oak tree that I found growing on the top of a pile of oak leaf mould I had stashed inside Sanctuary and it’s leafing up already after no additional watering and only rudimentary protection from the wallabies that would graze it to the ground. Life is harsh around here for plants. If they survive, if they grow, if they have shade and food potential then I am on them like seabiscuit!

Little green Hyundai
You know that fast little red corvette that the recently deceased king of cool “Prince” sang about? Well this is it’s little sister. She is a little green Hyundai. She isn’t much too fast, but she is fast enough. Our old Charabanc died and we needed to replace her fast. This little beast is economical and doesn’t blow smoke out of her exhaust. We can’t bear to part with our little 4 x 4 and Earl has claimed it as his summer home.
Japanese maple leaves against the blue sky
Japanese maple leaves against the blue sky.

I read an article about an Italian author called “Elana Ferrante” and was instantly intregued. See “Elana Ferrante” is a pen name and the author was surrounded by Italian mystique (and lets face it, now much more elegant can your common or garden mystique get?) and was quoted as saying that he/she would stop writing if they were outed. Well some moron decided to have his 5 minutes of fame by outing this person and I dare say the Italian people are up in arms about them perhaps never writing again as apparently this novelist didn’t let anything hide. It was ALL out in the open and her novels were written with a bare, angry and often bitter stare at Italian male dominated culture. Well I HAD to go and take a stack of them out from the library now didn’t I? I was duty bound to after that interesting article and a plethora of supporting documentation that this author may just be one of the best living authors…so I took out the books and I read one. It was about a middle aged woman who had been emasculated by her past but who was the author of the outcome and it was OK. I headed off to the next book. “The Days of Abandonment”. o_O I didn’t see this one coming. It started off OK with a middle class Italian family, one husband, one wife, a pigeon pair of kids and a lovely, well behaved (I hear they “do” exist…) dog. The husband decides that he wants out of the marriage and it’s ALL downhill from there folks! Good lord this is a bitter ride of terror and a mad dash to depths of a woman’s psyche that I couldn’t even imagine. I stopped reading it halfway through. This novel is slim. Only 188 pages in total but by the time I finished she was neglecting the kids, the dog was dying of poisoning in her ex-husbands study and she had attempted to felate an unattractive neighbour. Life had definitely taken a turn for the worst and hell, I am assured, was just about to let loose! I couldn’t read any more. At the moment I am reading for entertainment. For “light” entertainment to relieve the stress of endless days of studying. To give me a juxtaposition between the tangle that my brain becomes when it has to wrap itself around HTML and coding and putting it all together in an aesthetically pleasing, but still functioning website and my “real world” where I am the queen of my castle and sometimes things listen to what I say (unlike HTML and CSS which are the MOST bolshie things and that make Earl look like a pussycat in the obedience stakes) so reading these books was like a descent down some mad authors bitter, angry rabbit hole. I just wasn’t ready for it and I couldn’t face it let alone let myself become absorbed by it for any given length of time.

Upper Deviot shoe stump
This is the Upper Deviot shoe stump. If you look VERY closely you can see Steve’s shoes there. They walked there themselves!
Hydro turbine making electricity in the Tamar River
We live in interesting times folks. This, was put here by the marine department of the university, ostensibly to create electricity from the tides that roar in from the ocean several times a day. It has been there for about a month now and I wonder how they would go about collecting electricity and storing it for re-use? They could probably power most of our tiny hamlet with that single unit. (Note to self “where is that LONG extension cord”…)

I doubt I am the only one who gets absorbed by movies and novels. They become a part of me for a while. If they are good, it can last for a fair while. The movie “Dead Man Walking” stayed with me for months. These novels are now going to make me cross myself whenever I even think about the name Elena Ferrante so please, if you aren’t up for a dive into the mind of how low a woman can go, don’t read them. I found a novel that my dad had left here that I must have read the back cover blurb and decided to keep. I donated most of the 5 boxes of books (moving boxes, my dad was a avid speed reader with the library on speed dial) he was currently working through when he died to the thrift shop but a few caught my eye. I am SO glad I kept this book as it is slowly returning a bit of hope and sanity to my bereft psyche. Elena Ferrante caught me off guard and gave me a solid punch to the solar-plexus. My new salve novel is called “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” and is set in the early part of last century and revolves around a couple of older Jewish boys living in America and the story of how they attempt to get one of their families out of Nazi occupied Prague. The blurb on the front says “Perfection. There are perhaps for other books I’ve loved this much, and none that has made me cry more” – Tom Payne. Daily Telegraph. I can handle tears. The book is incredibly well written and I am enjoying every page. Even though the print is TINY and there are 659 pages and I am pretty much going to end up affected by it, it’s not dragging me around backwards through a blackberry thicket with scant regard for my welfare like Elena Ferrante was.

Little stuffed toy elephant with big eyes.
“Please…PLEASE don’t let that big bad monster eat me kind lady…”
Earl with a soft toy ring on his nose.
Ineffectual muzzle. I want my money back…

Well I am rooting for heading into the city today. We have another little car now as our tiny 4×4 appears to have spat the dummy and refuses to play ball any more. Our little minty green Hyundai can be seen stoically navigating the twin river Grand Canyon that our driveway has become and the 2 dogs love it. Bezial can get in easier (no steep climb up to the seat and no jumping) and Earl gets surround vision. He was SO excited we have instituted an on leash (metal chain) policy for him in the car and he is calm, happy and able to see from every angle. I found a stash of mint growing in the dog park the last time we went to the city and it’s growing in a bowl of water on the kitchen table. I might harvest some more (with roots) so that I can plant a fridge wicker out completely with spearmint. What a luxury! I love mint simply for the smell it makes when you brush up against it as well as for tea and there is nothing better with the humble British pea than a nice dose of minty sidekick.

Dogs eye view of our deck
Dogs eye view of our deck
Earl in the wood box
Earl in the wood box. (Don’t ask…)

So I figure I will take some photos that I might be able to use here today. I need some as all I have area few images that I took of some crazed crochet creations that I wrangled from a myriad of patterns (crab claws anyone?) to send to Ms Twisted (LINK LINK LINK) and her twin 5 year old boys. They started life as Lalylala dolls and how they ended up as “monsters” was a thing of terror. They will ALWAYS be one offs. I need to get hold of a monster book that Phil recently reviewed on her wonderful blog. If you crochet GO THERE…GO THERE NOW! Even if you knit. She does both. Most probably at the same time. Most meticulously and with manic precision she creates a magnificent collective of the bizarre, the beautiful and the simply inconceivable. Go look. I will wait.

http://thetwistedyarn.com/

So it’s goodbye from me for a while. I guess I am back? Most probably. I decided that when I wanted to post I would. I don’t want to be a slave to my blog but I also have this burning need to share what we are doing here in case it helps someone else out there. I am sure we will be hauling fridges within a few weeks and the machinations of filling, stocking and operating them will be documented and shared. Anything that helps people to grow their own food, to get a bit of hope in these scary times when social media appears to have hijacked us all and is taking us on an insane roller coaster ride that we keep forgetting to get off is good. I want to add to that “good” bit to redress a bit of the imbalance. Sides…you can’t keep a narf7 down for long. Wet or no, there are stories to tell and as long as there are people who want to listen to them, I will tell them πŸ™‚

Clematis Montana flowers
Clematis Montana flowers
Earl and Bezial waiting for treats
There is only one thing that will get both of our bolshie dogs sitting and staying and waiting like this. “Treats!”

Just before I go, I would like to give a little mention to my sister Pinkiii who has recently had surgery and who is making some incredibly brave changes in her life at the moment. They say that the older you get, the more you realise that family and friends are priceless. As my closest remaining relative I just want you to know how proud I am of you Pinkiii. Here’s to a whole new life πŸ™‚

Over and out
narf7

It’s goodbye from me, and it’s goodbye from him …

Steve in the footy callers box
Steve in the footy callers box at the Hillwood oval where we often walk our dogs.
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30 Comments Add yours

  1. Thank goodness you managed to find your way back! I’m not on fb very often so I miss all your exciting news!! I love your little dolls, they look extremely well made to me, and with just the right amount of kinkiness going on in their clothing πŸ™‚ It never ceases to amaze me what you are getting up to – and I am still looking forward to seeing what and where the fridges end up. Sanctuary should make a fabulous orchard area………. will you keep it covered to deter the critters? It’s been mostly warm here this month, after a shaky start. Not too warm, except for one day – which put me right off summer – and not too wet either. A nice start to our longer evenings and earlier mornings. Steve’s arty photos always look good – I love the shot of the rose on the side bar too. And a nice shiny green car – Earl must be happy riding around in that!! Don’t leave it too long before another post ……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      We will keep Sanctuary covered as otherwise it would be denuded of leaves as the possums feast ALL night long and I would be hair free in no time. We have 2 fridges with blueberries etc. in them but we need to paint them as they don’t look “all that” at the moment. Everything we planted in them is happy though so fingers crossed the systems work. We have had a few warmer days but lots of cold, dampness that seems to be lingering. I dare say we will have the hottest summer ever now and my complaining will come back to haunt me but it would just be nice to not need wellies to walk from the back door to the car…Earl LOVES the new car. 360 degree views and we had to install a “leads on in the car” policy as otherwise he would ride in my lap constantly (NOT an option!). I think I am back now so I will probably return to posting on a semi regular basis. I have lots to talk about but for the next 4 weeks I will be semi insane as I try to race the clock, get a fully functioning website up for my client and test it AND give my lecturer all of the accompanying data prior to the finish of our course. I think I need to find myself a paper bag after typing and reading that! I can’t wait till we pass the course and can have a much deserved break. I had best do a good job on this site as next years lecturer George will be able to dock my marks accordingly if it doesn’t perform πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome back! ‘Tis VERY good to start my Sunday with your wit and your news and your stunning photos. AND I’ve learned a new word (dehiscent), for which I’m grateful.

    Good to hear that winter and the rains are on their way out at last. I’m looking forward to seeing progress in the fridges.

    And thank you SO much again for the wonderful monsters: they’ve really fired the boys’ imaginations. Proper thanks coming via post shortly. I meant to ask, please may I show them off on my blog (with links to here, obviously)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Knock yourself out Ms T. I have some serious plans for the fridge wickers. I am quite sure that Frank thinks that we are going to attempt to open a used white goods premise from our house. We sometimes drive past him on the way back from walking the dogs afield and he has this kind of bewildered defiant look in his eyes. One day we are going to see Frank coming across the fence with a pitchfork… I love it when I learn a new word. If I can’t find one to learn, I often invent one myself. I can’t lay claim to dehiscent but it’s a halfway decent addition to anyone’s vocabulary. Please use it in every sentence this week πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  3. brymnsons says:

    Those novels sounded terrifying 😳. She seems to have an axe to grind… Glad you found a car to replace your old one. It has started to be summer here already. We have had a few lovely spring days but it is 35 here today, so hello summwe 😎.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      35C?! That’s Mid January temperatures around here! I forget I lived in the wheatbelt. You are further up than I was (I think I was inland from you) but I remember those long…hot summers where the only “water” you got to see was waves of crop blowing in the breeze that only rocked up sometimes at about 8 – 9 at night. I remember having Christmas in Cuballing (tiny town outside of Narrogin) and it was hot, dry and no wind at all. The only plus was that there was a pervading, and most Aussie, smell of dried gumleaves everywhere. I am NOT a fan of “a sunburnt country” at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kim says:

    Welcome back. You have been missed πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Why thank you for missing me Ms Kim :).

      Like

    2. brymnsons says:

      It will be interesting to see what a summer is like, compared to Norseman…. We will decamp to Perth for xmas. Probably stay a couple of weeks to get some repairs done and catch up with people. We get the sea breeze pretty quickly there πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. narf7 says:

        I reckon it will be hotter and drier in Beverly but there is something amazing about a Christmas in the wheatbelt with that smell of sundried eucalyptus leaves crunching around in your nose πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my word…lovely to hear what you’re up to…and how much! Nothing wrong with changing the plans for Sanctuary and your approach. Think I’ll give that author a miss….not for me! Keep up all the work and studies, sounds like you are doing an amazing get job. Do hope your sister is doing fine too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Pinkiii is doing amazingly well Ms Chica. Turning her life around now and I was walking at 2.30am with Earl, under a blanket of stars, thinking about how fantastic it would be to have all fruit trees, fruiting shrubs and fruit producing plants in Sanctuary as well as ponds and lots and lots of flowers as I can’t grow them in the main part of the property as everything hoovers them down. I am going to create a real “fruity” Sanctuary and you are wise to give that author a miss. She was far too intense for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad to hear she’s doing well. And walking under the stars sounds like the perfect time to think πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  6. foodnstuff says:

    Welcome back. I think you are doing the right thing with fruit trees in Sanctuary as you can protect them from the huge possum problem you obviously have. Veggies are small and easier to protect wherever they are. We have had buckets of rain here too….4 inches so far this month (average for this area is 2 inches…and it’s not finished yet). The back corner is gumboot territory….I stay out of it. But there is greenery everywhere and I think I have partially solved the rabbit problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Any rabbit foolish enough to set foot on our property would a. be instantly drowned and b. the feral cats would hoover it down in an instant. Cheers for your feedback about Sanctuary. I already have a fair few dwarf fruiting citrus, a kefir lime, a stack of raspberries (that are taking over the space) berries, grapes etc. and if we drip irrigate the area and heavily mulch it, we could have a lot more control in the space. I could also grow lots of flowers in there as well as put in lots of little ponds, nooks and a few herb spirals to give the wee beasties a place to live and thrive. I just had to stifle myself from laughing out loud (and waking Steve up) as just as I read “and it’s not finished yet”… (re rain) in your comment, it started raining here. I guess we really shouldn’t complain as this ongoing rain has created lush green havens everywhere. I was talking to a local farmer and he was complaining that even though he has a HUGE amount of pasture growing and thriving, they can’t harvest their hay and most probably won’t be able to till late in the season which will create problems for feed availability when it’s needed. If it aint one thing with farmers, it’s another! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Fran, Loved to read your beautiful post. Job scenario is same here Young girls are lucky to grab one while the deserving not so young are left out. Swami Steve is actually looking like a swami ……ready to read out an astrological chart. πŸ™‚ Fran, you talk about changes …. yes changes are part and parcel of our being. Changes happen for good. Sometimes it is difficult to let go of things we love and to move out of our comfort zone. But there is always a rainbow on the other side. There is a lot of chaos and confusion in our lives too. After dad, a lot of things have changed. We are just hoping that things fall in place……
    Love your dolls Fran, you are so creative. I guess your hobby keeps you occupied beautifully.
    Love and best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Lovely to see you revisiting Serendipity Farm Namita and I think this job situation is a worldwide phenomena. We have just moved into that age bracket and as such, are only noticing it for the first time now. I am learning to embrace change and try to let go of my fears of it. You are absolutely right about change being a catalyst for moving forward and finding new things. You would think that by now, with all of the new changes that I have started making, that I would be a bit closer to knowing that but I guess I am one stubborn old broad ;). Thank you for your lovely comment about the dolls Namita and Steve certainly looks the part of a Swami. He is getting somewhat alarmed by the state of his sideburns. I think that they are about to rise up and take over the masses πŸ˜‰

      Like

  8. Littlesundog says:

    Finally, an Earl fix! And that swami look suits Steve!
    I never think anything is a mistake. Having realization that something is just not working or maybe isn’t possible, and making changes is the wise approach. To push forth and insist that success lies somewhere in the equation is silly. For many years here I have dealt with poor soil and invasive Burmuda grass in my flower beds and gardens. What I spend trying to amend soil and water every year to produce some kind of vegetable crop amounts to much more than I probably could get at the farmer’s market or local grocery. The items that do grow well and are not a problem, I will still grow. But insisting that every year I should be able to raise what doesn’t do well, is silly. I told FD a while back I was not going to continue with the big garden, and I was done trying to plant fruit trees. In nearly ten years only one apple tree out of nine various fruit trees (which we have replaced the cherry and pear trees numerous times) has turned out fruit. I am done trying.
    I love that I see regular posts on Facebook. I’m not a big FB person but since you haven’t blogged much lately, it’s special to look there and find snippets of this and that. I’m still cracking up over those men’s crocheted pants as a “not so good idea” to crochet!! Thank you for keeping me in laughter. Your FB posts are the best. But, I’m glad you are back here… I get the real nitty gritty on life at Sanctuary with all of the details!! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I think I needed to hibernate over winter this year. It’s been long and wet and our lives have been taken over by the need to code for class so now that I am over the pointy end of the course and am just about to finish up with my assessment peripherals I have a bit more time to think about gardening and the ability to wade out to the back garden in my wellies without drowning or Steve having to get in his dinghy and rescue me. Sanctuary should work for fruit trees. If not, and it takes too much work/water to keep her up and running, she will be retired. You live and you learn and it’s a wise person who knows when to move on.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Littlesundog says:

        Well we ARE at that age of wisdom. I know I cannot keep up this crazy pace anymore. I want to enjoy life and travel a bit. This place keeps me way too busy.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the call out Fronkiii 😘. Lovely blog post to find after all this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I think I’m back now. Hibernation is over πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can’t talk mind you. I haven’t posted for eons.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        We have been flat out with our studies (I fully intend on passing this year!) and winter has been prolonged and WET so I have been hibernating. Suns out (at least for the moment) and today we whipper snip the jungle and start lugging fridges into place. I have an interesting agreement with a blackberry now. I am going to let it live and am going to espalier it around a little seedling apple tree that grew in the garden so that it protects it from the possums and in return, I will care for it and allow it to live (albeit in a severely structured way). It’s brethren all around it are doomed for the chop but it is going to get a chance to live a symbiotic life inside the compound fence so long as it does it’s job.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Spy Garden says:

    Fortunately for you this year is the “schmita” See below from wikipedia:
    The sabbath year (shmita Hebrew: Χ©ΧžΧ™Χ˜Χ”β€Žβ€Ž, literally “release”) also called the sabbatical year or shvi’it (Hebrew: Χ©Χ‘Χ™Χ’Χ™Χͺβ€Žβ€Ž, literally “seventh”) is the seventh year of the seven-year agricultural cycle mandated by the Torah for the Land of Israel,[1] and still observed in contemporary Judaism.

    During shmita, the land is left to lie fallow and all agricultural activity, including plowing, planting, pruning and harvesting, is forbidden by halakha (Jewish law). Other cultivation techniques (such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming and mowing) may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits which grow of their own accord are deemed hefker (ownerless) and may be picked by anyone.

    I think it is natural to take a break; a year off to reevaluate the land…we did this year (not really so much on purpose)…we had friends visiting a few weeks ago and she told me about the “schmita” which I had never heard of before, but it did happen to end up that 2016 was a year that spy garden basically rested in a bed of cozy weeds and mint and flowers. But we did get one pumpkin!!! Woo! Glad you are back! Going to go catch up on your other posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      It has always been about being able to manage our difficult little patch with what we have (as best we can) and making our lives better, not worse, through managing it smarter, not harder. That’s why we keep trying new ideas and working towards a more sustainable but less “difficult” way of doing things. We filled another two wicking fridges yesterday and I planted out some oca in one of them. I am all for schmita by the way! I wish I had known about it earlier and it’s obviously a valuable lesson in allowing nature to take a bit back from our overeager desires to get something back for our work. Nature needs time to replenish and to spread the love around. I keep finding new ways to use the weeds and grasses that want to grow mental around here. The fridge wicking beds will take a lot of weeds in the base of them. I can see this being a most interesting experiment as well as a valuable way to garden with a whole lot less effort (at a much nicer height πŸ˜‰ ) and a lot of reward as well as giving nature what she wants (most of the property πŸ˜‰ ), keeping the birds happy and the lizards etc. that come to visit will find plenty to eat in our fridge wicking beds (although we might have to do paper rock scissors with the strawberries…) We all need to learn to rest and the hectic pace that society seems to want to move at, isn’t our natural pace and we all seem to be suffering for that need for speed. Time to slow down, to smell those flowers that grew and to enjoy that glorious pumpkin :). I doubt we will get tomatoes or anything that takes a long growing season to grow this year. It’s the start of November and we have a week of wind and rain forecast. I am guessing it’s going to be a short summer but I, for one, am NOT complaining. I hate summer. Thank you for the schmita. I will be taking it and wantonly and most casually peppering my sentences with it today πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes! you are back.. πŸ™‚ And I loved reading this extra long post Fran. I hope at last that the rainfall has subsided a little, I know how precious it is out there but not so welcome when it arrives all at once.

    Using Sanctuary as a place to grow fruit trees sounds a great idea.. And I am sure once you shake yourself out of your hibernation you will be raring to go, once you have some of those hefty fridge/freezers pulled into place and planted up.

    I love what you have been upto craft wise, love the teacosy and dolls.. And I still have not really sat down to master crocheting as much as I do my knitting.. Maybe as this winter here now approaches is now the time.. though having said that I want to get back into my guitar playing as I have neglected my daily self lessons as the garden took over.. Then you just chill out with a glass of the red stuff.. πŸ™‚

    Seeing that home made beer brought back lots of good memories, When our children were small , my hubby would brew his own beer and we had quite a production line going..

    We would brew and put in a plastic barrel which had a tap on it and as that was being emptied get ready with the next barrel.. πŸ™‚ I loved the stout we brewed and was breast feeding at the time.. Those were the days they would bring you a free Guinness in the evenings in hospital when you breast fed. LOL.. those were the days haha..
    No wonder my daughter was well behaved and slept through the nights LOL.. πŸ™‚ haha..

    Love the picture of Steve as the Guru πŸ™‚ and all of the photo’s.. And if they can generate electricity like that, wouldn’t you think they would use our oceans more in this way,..

    I think we all know they have alternative means of producing cheap energy, but are prevented from it being made public.. I mean it would never do if we all had free energy now would it.. And when you delve into the web you see how controlling is the system we are slaves in.

    I hope your sister is doing great.. nothing like sisterly love.. ( though I know how families are) I have 3 sisters and one brother.. 2 sisters stopped contact when my mother broke contact with me.. Thankfully I have one sister whom is very close.. ( she too had a life changing opp in her 30’s and thankfully beat the C word.. )
    So love and healing thoughts out to your sister with what ever she is facing right now..

    Loved this post Fran, and good to see the Earl is on form too.. Also well done on creating a website and navigating WP at times is a challenge for me, so you made me laugh when you said you were flanked either side in class by those calming influences LOL πŸ™‚

    Wishing you a great November as Summer at last is about to bloom..

    Hugs and much love
    Sue ❀ xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Hi Sue, we had a cracker of a day yesterday. It didn’t even rain once! We were able to situate all of the fridge wickers in place and level them all ready to start filling them. I am starting to get really excited by the prospects of being able to garden (hip height as a bonus) in our long dry summer without having to spend almost every waking hour watering. That will be the best Christmas gift ever :). I have visions of kiwi fruit vines and grape vines twining up the side of Sanctuary and forming a walled garden inside. My own secret garden :). My sister was having elective surgery for something that she has wanted to correct for most of her life and she is really happy with the results now :). I don’t talk to my brother any more. Seems when our dad died it started an avalanche of conditions that caused him to go off the rails with my sister and I. Turns out wherever there is a will, there are often a series of problems with it and family suffers. Hugs for your own family problems. You would think that of all people, your family would learn to understand that there needs to be room for people who don’t have the same opinions and attitudes that they do and that the more variety in your family, the more interesting your family is. I have a few people in my immediate family that I don’t get at ALL but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about them and wish that I could find a real connection with them. I guess with some people though, there are only so many times that you can “forgive and forget”. Especially narcissists. They don’t have the capability to understand what they are doing to their nearest and dearest and most people are best off distancing themselves from them. Crochet is great fun and I am about to start having a bit of (tongue out of the side of my mouth) go at knitting again. I want to get some circular needles and have a go at knitting socks. Seems every man and his dog wants to knit socks but I just want to be able to make some hard wearing socks for Steve that his feet don’t “eat” in a week! Maybe we can swap trade secrets? πŸ˜‰ Hugs right back atcha and enjoy that down time. It’s seriously addictive and most delicious πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes good thing we can choose our friends and yes a great shame about certain members of our respective families.. My mother was narcissistic though it was years later I even began to understand.. She could never give of herself.. But I think you read a bit on my other blog didn’t you..
        Any ways good luck with the tongue sticking out lol Knitting..
        That is what I have been doing over the last few days..
        Grrrr.. Patience has been tried though Fran..
        I had been knitting in lamp light most evenings and then came to sew up the cardigan for my granddaughter which is in pink glitter yarn..
        I had sewn the shoulders tog, and knitted a frilly stand up pattern collar trip and sewn that too in place Also I had knitted up separate front bands which I had sewn in place..
        When WHAM.. BANG.. in the light of day I saw that a change in wool ( I had the same batch numbers throughout ) had revealed it was a very different shade half way up the front of the left front…. Grrrr..

        I tested all the wool and sure enough it seemed ALL the rest of the wool was the darker shade not the lighter shade of the back and other front.. So without undoing the whole darn thing.. I had to get my thinking cap on..
        Hubby said no one would notice.. But I Could see it..
        So in the end the only thing I could do was to match the change of colour which was around yoke level to both fronts.. but that meant unpicking neck band, front bands and shoulders and taking it all back on the other side to match up the wool..
        Phew…well now all done, just need to re sew it all together and buy buttons..
        So that has been my last few days.. πŸ™‚

        It sounds like you have been heaving and tugging.. but it will all be worth it in the end.. As the older I get the more my back knows I have been bending over..

        And circular needles are good.. much better than having four with no ends.. I tried that once.. and lost more stitches LOL.. πŸ™‚ off the ends of them.. haha..
        I know you will master it.. If you can create web sites.. you can create socks for webbed feet hahahaha…. Big Hugs xxx and love to you both xx and Earl..

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Linne says:

    SO glad you are back; even once a month is great! And I’ll thake less if needed (by you). No time for a lengthy comment, although this is called for. Just want to say one of my new favourite drinks is a Mint Mojito. I had it at a tea shop in Edmonton. They mixed green tea and lime juice, then added a couple of ice cubes, a lime slice and a sprig or two of fresh mint; fantastic!
    Love to you and your sister, not to mention Steve and the boys. You are all in my thoughts daily.

    Liked by 1 person

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