Not dead, just busy as all get out

Hi All,

You may have wondered why everything has been very quiet on the blogging front on Serendipity Farm well truth be known, Steve and I have been taking advantage of the sunny weather and our 6 weeks off from TAFE (college) to throw ourselves headfirst and upside down into tidying up the property and fighting the good fight against our erstwhile foe “The Weeds”. Our weeds tend on the viney side and when they take over, they are aiming for world domination. We have hacked and burned about 20 cubic metres of blackberries since I last posted and we are both officially knackered. I am going to post a lot of images with captions for this blog post as otherwise the post would be too long for anyone to be bothered reading. There are worse things than a story in images. Steve and I have had a couple of days off because of rain and our computer died so we had to rush in, get another one, set it up etc. so the couple of days rain have been a blessing for more than just the garden. I hope that you are all travelling along well and that 2018 has been kind to you so far. It’s been hard slog for us but we have completely changed the scenery for the better so we are not complaining. Here’s what we have been doing while I was AWOL…

We might be working like Trojans but if Earl doesn’t get his daily walk there is hell to pay! Here he is contemplating the elm grove that he and I found a few weeks back.
This is another walk we had in the city at one of Earl’s very favourite places to walk. This walk runs along a river bank.
Earl loves a bit of variety on his walks. He would love to get off his lead but we can’t afford the litigation…
OH the places Earl goes…
Here we have Earl heading down the driveway with his chicken herd following him. They hadn’t been fed yet and figured wherever the human was, the food must be close. Earl soon showed them the error of their ways but at this point he was too busy sniffing the ground to realise that he had his own chicken harem.
We have also been cooking up a storm. Steve made this delicious seitan stir fry with fluffy basmati rice.
Here he ran up a very tasty meal of leftover basmati rice with curry spices, black beans and veggies served with chapati and crushed peanuts.
Here Steve was recycling pasty mix from the night before and made these tasty potato burgers.
Another stir fry but this time with tofu coated in cornflour, seasoning, chilli flakes and fried till crispy. Delicious!
This was our Christmas lunch. We made a delicious seitan roulade with a filling of homemade sundried tomato, roasted red pepper and cashew pesto spread over it, then over that, spread mushroom duxelles and rolled up. We left it overnight and then baked it on Christmas day, let it cool a bit and coated it in more mushroom duxelles and then wrapped it in vegan puff pastry and baked it in the cooler bbq. In the hotter bbq we cooked the roast veg you can see here (roast pumpkin, sweet potato and carrots) to go with it.
These roast potatoes went with the Christmas dinner and were absolutely the very best roast potatoes ever. We got the recipe from the “Serious Eats” website and used rice bran oil to cook them
Christmas dinner complete with the ubiquitous Brussels sprouts (Steve is from the U.K. and apparently they are compulsory πŸ˜‰ ) and peas and an amazing red wine gravy.
Steve’s mum bought us these wonderful kitchen gadgets for Christmas and we are enjoying playing with them. We have used the deep fryer to make some amazing tempura seitan steaks and mushrooms but have been too busy to experiment with the pressure cooker. I have my eye on a new beefy style seitan recipe for the instant pot that I am going to make in it soon.
The raspberries came…
The youngberries came…
There were some lovely sunrises that Earl and I got to share together
And another one…
And another one…
The blueberries came… (I am saving these to try to grow some more from seed)
The grapes (in Sanctuary) are coming…
As are the dwarf beans in the new fridge wicking beds…
The spiders are everpresent and on duty 24/7
I relocated all of the pots of edibles to a newly cleared stand that I found whilst hacking blackberries. Here you can see pots of dragon fruit and macadamia nuts growing happily now that they have been liberated from the glasshouse.
The flowers are flowering. This is a coastal tea tree blooming profusely.
And all through it we worked. Here is the before photo of when we cleared the driveway and lower tea tree garden of Vinca major. This is what it looked like…
This was how my whipper snipper head looked for most of this garden area thanks to the dropped leaves of the Cordylines in this area. I had to stop and pull them off the end constantly…sigh…
And this is the after shot of my efforts. Some of the vinca was 5ft deep in this area and I was overjoyed to finish this task.
Steve and I carried on down the driveway and after we had finished I took this shot. It looks a whole lot better without all of the Scotch thistles!
Next we tackled the “garden” and lawn in front of the house. This area was a mass tangle of blackberries and Scotch thistles fighting for domination…
Here I am sitting in this same spot sans blackberries and Scotch thistles…
Here’s proof that I actually do my bit …
Battered, bruised and bewildered but triumphant!
This is a before shot of the area between our property and our curmudgeonly neighbour Franks house.
This area included the mass tangle of blackberries in our old outside chicken pen and this is the after shot sans blackberry overlords (and chicken occupants. We dislodged several prospective mothers with great joy!)
The view from the deck of the front garden…
The problem with doing lots of clearing of the blackberry scourge is that you end up with a HUGE pile of debris that needs to be dealt with.
We dealt with it. AND we roasted potatoes in the hot ashes πŸ™‚
An artistic shot of the smoke we generated with our fire.
Here we are working on some of the blackberry menace in the far side garden. They appear to have almost won this fight but I rallied and beat them back!
Here you see Steve vainly attempting to dig the first trench for our orchard drip irrigation. The soil is very dry and compact at this time of year (like concrete if I am being honest) so we ended up ditching the shovel and throwing our backs into it with a pick axe. My back is still protesting…
We ran a series of drip irrigation hose in circles around the base of each fruit/nut tree in the orchard area and you see Bezial here assisting us in our efforts on this small chestnut tree (sigh)…
“Yes? Can I help you madam?”
Earl “assisting” us with putting a bale of pea straw around the newly drip irrigated orchard (more sighs…)
Would you believe that there is a deck rail underneath this mass tangle of banana passionfruit, clematis, yellow banksia rose and jasmine? Well there is and we are about to liberate it!
This is the jungle of vines that previously inhabited and thrived in our side garden. They were so prolific they were preventing any rain from getting to the soil and the trees that were allowing them to form a forest canopy were suffering so along with their blackberry nemisis and some honeysuckle thrown in for good measure, they needed to be dealt with!
And deal with them we did! Where you can see Earl was where all of that mass tangle of vegetation was previously. We hacked, we hauled, we “dungbeetled” (our peculiar way of rolling off large sections of vinery) and we freed up this area for the chicken overlords to scratch around in and feast on the unfortunate insects that fell out of the canopy. As you can see we also found some eggs. Some very ROTTEN eggs. They have since floated down the Tamar River.

 

And that is what we have been doing on Serendipity Farm for the past few weeks. We feel tired but incredibly happy that we have managed to accomplish so much in this space of time. We still have to whipper snip the back block but that is a day job. We still have to liberate the lower part of the front garden, but again, this is a single day job. There are other areas that we have to hack back a few blackberries, clear up a bit and generally take back Pelham 123 but they are in the minority now and we have done most of what we could have possibly hoped to do and are most happy with our efforts so far. We started the year like we mean to finish it. “Doing”. We also learned our lesson and won’t be leaving the blackberries etc. to take over like they did and will be taming them throughout the year to make our job MUCH easier. Thank you for visiting Serendipity Farm and catch you all soon πŸ™‚

46 Comments Add yours

  1. Fabulous photos. Really enjoyed seeing what you’ve been cooking and eating too. Did have to Google Seitan…Interesting, had never heard of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Seitan has certainly made it a lot easier to give Steve his favourite comfort foods with very little change Ms Chica. It acts as a decent meat substitute and is cheap and easy for me to make and you would be surprised how tasty it is. If Steve hadn’t gone vegan I most likely wouldn’t have known much about it either πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the photos πŸ™‚

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  2. Wow narf, you and hubby need a medal for that, such a lot of work, but sooo rewarding. It sounds like you have quite a lot of very nice plants there, just overgrown, the banksii is particularly nice. I must admit i am not a fan of spiders, and in Australia definitely not, wishing you both well..

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    1. narf7 says:

      We have a run of orb weaver spiders this year that work tirelessly in our fully enclosed prospective espalier and perennial garden that we call Sanctuary (because the possums and wallabies can’t get into it to eat everything πŸ˜‰ ). We inherited this 4 acre property from my father when he passed away in 2010 and back when he bought the property it was beautifully tended tiered gardens that were fully reticulated. There are taps every 100 metres around the property but we have cut most of them off now as when dad bought it with his partner they stopped using the watering system (water costs money πŸ˜‰ ) and so the garden quickly succumbed to the long dry summers here and only the most stoic of the ornamentals have survived but the rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are all doing amazingly well because the soil is on the acidic side. As middle aged penniless student hippies, we can’t afford to do major earthworks to make swales or dams/ponds etc. or hire anyone else to do the work for us so we have to wade in when we have the time to do it ourselves. It certainly makes us realise how resilient nature is and her desire to keep the soil covered with whatever she can! Thank you for your good wishes. My husband is also called Steve (and has a beard) and he originated in the U.K. He is from Liverpool but lived most of his life in Essex. The very best reward of doing all of this work is “stopping” (sort of like banging your head on a wall πŸ˜‰ ) but seriously, it’s so much nicer to look out on a vista that hasn’t been taken over by blackberry thickets and that our feral ninja chickens can’t take advantage of and hatch out hundreds of babies each season! Thank you for stopping by and for commenting πŸ™‚

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      1. Thank god only orb weaver then, nothing deadly i hope.

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      2. narf7 says:

        Plenty of deadly ones (red backs) but they tend to hide and live underneath old metal (corrugated iron etc.) where you can’t see them and we do get the odd spider that lives in the ground (trap door) and house spiders (black ones) can give you a nasty nip but we have one on the back door that I feed blow flies to. She has been there for a number of years now. I don’t mind spiders as they tend to stay in one place. It’s snakes I am a bit antsy about!

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  3. Kim says:

    Busy, busy people. So glad the dogs were there to assist πŸ˜‚.
    You deserve time off now to play with your new gadgets.
    Your Christmas dinner looked lovely. Thanks for your suggestion – my daughter’s vegan Wellington looked almost as good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      With vegan food it’s all about the sauces and spices I always say and going the extra mile to make sure it looks as good as it tastes πŸ™‚ We are back in the fray now. Yesterday we had to clean out Steve’s shed that the feral (ninja) chickens had taken over. At one stage there were about 40 chickens roosting in various areas of the shed so you can only begin to imagine how covered in chicken excrement it was! We headed in with grit and gloves and cleared it all out, cleaned it all off and it’s like new now and the roller door is DOWN so the last few chickens that were roosting on his whipper snippers were evicted in no uncertain terms!

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      1. Kim says:

        Send Earl in to police it in future – that’ll get rid of them! That sounds like a mammoth amount of work. Well done reclaiming the shed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        We took Earl into the shed to see what we had done and he was very busy hunting for the chickens that he could smell πŸ˜‰ Steve is most happy as now he can find and use all of his tools again πŸ™‚

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  4. foodnstuff says:

    Massive amount of work….what a difference! I didn’t realise you had so many weeds. Surprised that you can still burn off there…our restrictions came in before Christmas and will be with us till May. I’m still taking fuel out of the bush and have huge amounts piling up down the back, but as long as it is away from the house, I’m happy. The neighbours at the back are another thing, but at least there’s good access to their property for fire trucks…there’s none from mine.

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    1. narf7 says:

      I knew, of all people, that you would get what we were doing here and how much hard slog was involved. It’s been a bit cooler here than you guys have had and we got a fire permit on the only day that the wind wasn’t rapidly approaching tornado πŸ˜‰ We lit the fire at 6.30 and it was out by 11am so they were happy. We are building up another pile of blackberry debris and will burn again when we know it’s safe. We have access on all sides for a fire truck and the fire truck is only about 2km away from our house. We cleared out Steve’s shed yesterday (it had been raining for 2 days so we had 2 days off…”YAY!” ) as there have been chook vagrants/squatters in there for about a year now and you can only begin to imagine how disgusting it was in there. Everything got hauled out and cleaned off and we ended up with three wheelbarrows of straw and chook manure to put on the ageing old fruit trees in the orchard. I am sure they will appreciate it if it ever rains again and they get the nutrients but for the moment it’s acting as excellent mulch around the base of them so keeping the moisture in. They have (up until now) only ever had whipper snipped lawn underneath them and I never watered them through the summer. They were included in the recent drip irrigation efforts and I am sure that they appreciate it in their dotage πŸ™‚ We have a large heap of dead debris down the front of the property and some left on Frank’s fenceline. That first fire we had I hauled about a third of the debris along Franks fenceline up and we burned it so he has been more than pleasant (waving to us!) lately πŸ˜‰ I will haul the rest of it up and we will burn it when we next burn the mounting heap of blackberries from our side garden deforestation. I don’t know how everything grows so well out there as it never gets watered. The chooks scratch around and have converted one part of it to a dust bath as the soil is just silt unless you build it up with organic matter. I might just have to throw some mowed grass in there to prevent it from relocating down to the Tamar river ;).

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      1. foodnstuff says:

        So, do you have to pay for a fire permit there? It costs us $60 here (well that’s what it was some time ago…probably gone up since then!), and that lasts for the season (May-Dec). I imagine I could get a special permit for the non-burning off season (like now), but knowing the local council, it would probably cost extra. I haven’t bothered to apply for a permit for years now, since it went up from $20 originally, and as I understand it, few of the neighbours do either. The goody-goody ones probably do and it’s them you have be careful of, complaining if you burn off on the wrong day of the week. The local council isn’t flavour of the month with most people around here. If a ranger happens to be driving by, sees the smoke and comes to check, I’ll get a fine, of course.

        In addition, during the OK season, we are only allowed to burn off on Fri and Sat (it used to be Thurs as well, but that was cancelled), so you can imagine that if it’s wet those days I am stuffed for that week, also if it’s rained through the week and the piles of stuff are wet, it’s no-can-do as well.

        I can understand up to a point, as we are in a designated bushfire zone, but very few people actually have bush on their properties; it has gradually been cleared to be just mown grass and trees (your neighbour Frank would love it), and I am looked on as a bit of a weirdo greenie for wanting to keep it.

        Anyway rant over. Just another question. If you’ve whipper-snipped the tops off the blackberries, what do you propose to do when they reshoot again from the bases? Once I’ve cut off the top growth here, I can gain access to the base and dig it up when it starts to reshoot, or I can stick some glyphosate on it and persist till no more growth appears.

        And yes, I do admit that I use glyphosate here; I simply don’t have the time to hand-pull all the grassy weeds, but never near my food forest. If I get the weeds out before they seed, I’m ahead for the next season and after doing that for many years, I’m ahead now. I only spray infrequently now. I hate using the stuff, but whaddya do?

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      2. narf7 says:

        Our fire permits are free here. I can’t believe that a council would charge you but then water was free here till about 25 years ago so I guess that’s just a Tassie thing. I wail in on the blackberries, behead them with great joy, find their canes, follow them back to the ground and cut them off at the base (or if they are smaller yank them out by the roots). I then stand with the blackberry in my gloved hand and howl at the moon with joy. All I need is woad smeared on my face to complete the feral picture right there! I HATE blackberries! I don’t use glyphosate. I did try using it at the very beginning when we initially moved in and cut them back for the first time but it doesn’t work and they grow back anyway so I just do the rounds, hack back new growth and my stubborn refusal to give in to them will one day either kill me or work. I figure if you keep cutting them back you are removing their nutrients and light and they can’t keep generating ad hoc. Lets see if I am right. Screw the neighbours Bev. It’s “your” choice what you do with your property and bollocks to people who don’t get what you are doing. You get the perfectly picked strawberry when it’s absolutely at it’s best. They have to pay for those horrible supermarket sour buggers. I picked and ate the most glorious fig this morning. It was huge, soft and squidgy and perfect. It was also warm from the sun and I ate it in the garden with the sea breeze blowing and the sun on my back. That is an experience you are NOT going to get in a supermarket because you were too busy cutting your lawn to care about producing food! We find that hacking down the blackberries before they fruit stops the bollocks birds from getting into them as well and spreading the seed all over the place. We will win this war. It might just take us the rest of our lives πŸ˜‰

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  5. I am exhausted just reading about your efforts. Well done with all that work, I can only imagine the sense of achievement when you were finished. I am currently in a rental and refuse to tackle the landscape gardeners efforts circa mid-1980s. All palm trees (urgh), diosma and agapanthus. Previous tenants put in a sweet potato which is popping up nicely and I may be here long enough to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Can’t wait to be in my own place and really get stuck into growing things again πŸ™‚

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    1. narf7 says:

      We lived in rentals for many years till we inherited property from my dad back in 2010 so I feel your pain. Every time you move in and make any changes you know that they are only going to be neglected (or hacked out) by the next tenant so you stop bothering and learn to turn a blind eye. We study through the year and our time is spent turning our brains inside out but we have both made a pact to do at least a days hard yards a week in the garden to maintain what we just did so that we don’t have to do it all over again this time next year. That thought makes me twitch! πŸ˜‰ We have two palm trees on our property but they are down in the jungle bit of the garden and don’t bother us and we have a stand of bamboo that we also don’t mind as it’s just “vista” in front of the house. We don’t water the area in front of the house (2 acres) and it survives on what mother nature throws at it from the sky. Lucky you with the sweet potato! I adore them and would love to grow some but our soil is hideously rocky and we have a massive band of clay underneath about 20cm down and we also live on a steep slope that carries water away from whatever we plant so we have to be very inventive about how we garden here. Just digging a hole to put a post etc. in take a lot of effort (especially at this time of year when the soil has set like rock in summer!) and we end up with a pile of rocks from a small hole and the hole ends up being MUCH bigger than we need because we have to dig all of the big rocks out first. That’s why we have installed 24 fridge wicking beds to grow veggies in but I have learned that potatoes etc. don’t really like growing in soil that is too moist so I am tinkering with the systems to try to get the most out of them. It’s all a HUGE learning curve and by the way I HATED agapanthus till we moved here. I soon learned that something that will grow happily on a hot tin roof on Mars with NO intervention from moi can live happily all down my driveway ;). We did hack out the ancient diosma though as it as a serious pain in the derierre and it was some of the toughest wood I have ever had to deal with! The ancient plants were HUGE and overgrown and half dead but those trunks were like hacking through iron. There was a LOT of muttering and cursing on the day we tackled them I can tell you! πŸ˜‰ Thank you for your lovely comment and I really do feel your pain about the rental garden πŸ™‚ One day you will get your garden and that’s when the real magic starts. I had never gardened much at all before we got here (we had pots full of “lovely things” that moved with us prior to this) and suddenly I was thrown in at the deep end and life has never been the same but it has taught me to think on my feet, to revel in the tiny triumphs and to really observe and take incredible joy from what nature has given us. I am a much happier and more centred person because I (try to) garden πŸ™‚

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      1. Oh clay, I remember it well from my childhood in the Perth Hills. Lovely on winter for a child (lots of pottery), but the anguish my parents had with the rivers running past the house (until they had worked out ways of diverting them). Summer was entirely different, baked hard as rock in the sun, my dear Mum must have broken her back getting her beautiful garden going. The rental is because of the end of my 29 year marriage, I am biding my time looking for something that takes my fancy. And lastly, I am going back to study after an 8 year hiatus, looking forward to it although it is purely work-orientated😊

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      2. narf7 says:

        I come from Western Australia as well but hail from Denmark and lived in Albany but through my first marriage I moved around a lot to W.A. wheatbelt towns with my ex and know all about how hot it can get up there. I would say “sorry” about your marriage ending but you might actually be happy about it so I won’t presume. When mine ended after 15 years I moved on. I guess that’s all you can do really. You will find something perfect. I have a friend who’s husband not only left her but forced the sale of her house that she loved out from under her. She sold the house (he “needed” his share) and has found another place that is almost as lovely and is enjoying making it all hers. That will be your joy sometime soon. Finding that “perfect” place that will fill you with joy :). Kudos on going back to school (work related or not). Steve and I have been studying for a few years now as the alternative is work for the dole and we would rather expand our minds (and our possibilities) than stagnate sweeping a thrift shop floor. There isn’t a lot of work for 50+ year olds in the state (Tassie) so we live simply and find ways to do/get what we want that don’t cost anything (preferably) or have a very low cost. I wouldn’t trade my life for quids now. I love my life although it can be pretty hard slog at times. I guess that’s what makes downtime SO worth it :). Thank you for commenting and sharing and I love that you dropped by and took a peek at what we are doing here. I love to share πŸ™‚

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      3. Yep, pretty happy!

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  6. Jane says:

    Wow! What a huge amount of work, well done. It looks so good you must be well pleased with what you have done. I will learn your lesson well and not let my blackberries get out of hand. I always look forward to your photos and what gorgeous sunrises. I have been watering as much as I can as we have two 40+ days comingπŸ˜“. I am doing my best to will them away, me, my garden, the chooks and all my animals suffer and it takes the wind out of my sails for days afterwards. Still we are not yet quite as dusty as we were last year so that’s good.

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    1. narf7 says:

      I see every little step forward as a small triumph. Sanctuary is starting to become self sufficient now and a little ecosystem has started to form where the slugs (and ducky) deal with the slugs and snails and grasshoppers that used to invade Poland and since we have been drip irrigating it it’s a completely different and much more connected place. We have a couple of 35C days coming up so I completely feel for you! Our sun has no ozone layer down here in Tassie and the heat is incredible that comes off it. Our dogs hate hot weather and I get a wet towel and towel them off when it gets too hot on a regular basis. The chooks have plenty of jungle left to retire to when it’s hot (we still have to get down into that lower jungle but that’s another day…) and we just swelter through it as we don’t believe in air conditioning because we live so close to the sea and we get an afternoon sea breeze. We are going to install some more doors in the lounge room as it gets hot and stuffy and it would be great to have more air flow but aside from that, we just suck it up and sweat. Blackberries are my arch nemisis. I wade into them and hack with grit and determination. They give as good as they get! My legs look like I have chicken pox still after being grabbed and scratched constantly but I am like a blackberry berserker in action and ignore the pain as I know that pretty soon they will be hacked down to the ground. They are terrifying foes if you don’t know how to tackle them. I made sure to learn EVERYTHING I could about my blackberry foes early on in the game so I am not overwhelmed by all of that canopy. They put out long canes and then grow arms from those canes and the arms are covered in leaves and look like a huge mass. You just wade into the arms and hack them off first and suddenly you can see the canes exposed and growing out of the ground and I get underneath them (crawling where necessary!) and hack them down to the ground. I feel most triumphant when I beat them. What has me the happiest is that this year we have hacked them all before they have fruited and thus the birds can’t spread them all over the property which is partly why we have this terrible blackberry problem in the first place I have more to tackle down the driveway but they are a doddle compared to what we just hacked out :). I hope they are wrong about your 40C days but it is summer and it’s the forth year (our weather tends to go in cycles if you observe it long enough) and we have just had a couple of good winters so we are due a hot one. I just suck it up and think of England (well, think of how happy my tomatoes and eggplant are) and take one for the Gipper (and mix my metaphors TERRIBLY πŸ˜‰ )

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  7. Loved the scenic root of Earls walk Fran, and seems Steve is enjoying his cooking skills too, Yummy Christmas lunch! And all of those berries, fabulous.
    And among the raspberries is where we find the most spiders, they love hanging their webs there as the sweet fruit attracts the midges and flys.

    WOW to your before and after shots of the brambles Fran, what a lot of hard work you have put it. Amazing clearance. That was a lot of effort! And can just how wacked you must have been too.
    You should both feel very proud of yourselves.. Such a mammoth task, and Earl will not know what to do with himself in all the newly created space..

    And so pleased you have started the year as you mean to go on.. Happy 2018 both of you.. xxx ❀

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    1. narf7 says:

      The photos of Earl were of several of his morning walks as were the sunsets. I often head off at 3.30am with Earl in the dark. There are shift workers who know us by sight πŸ˜‰ We are SO happy we dealt with the hard slog before it started to get seriously hot. We have a couple of 35C days coming up and we don’t have to drag our sad carcasses out into that kind of heat. We can sit back with a cold drink on the deck and smile at the vista now :). We have orb weavers this year (they only seem to be out every few years) and they are all over Sanctuary. I don’t go up there much now, aside from to turn on the irrigation, and they, and the lizards, rule! Thank you for the lovely comment (as always) Sue. I think you are my most dedicated blog follower πŸ™‚

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      1. Bless you for saying so Fran. I am usually late in my arrival, so to be only a day late from your posting is probably a record. Yes the spiders get on with it and if left alone do lots of good work.. And no doubt the lizards do too. Something we do not have..
        Oh I wish our temps were rising.. So sick of these rainy drab days with no Sun what so ever.
        I went to do more crafting on the greenhouse model this morning, It was lighter at nine am, at 10am I had to give up even with a spot light on the desk it went so dark as the rain and heavens opened…. Oh for a glimpse of blue sky, Its over a week now and heavy cloud and mist.Its got that it seeps into your bones..
        I loved the pictures of the sunrise..
        Hope you enjoy your time sipping your favourite cold tipple on the deck.. Enjoy looking at your handy work.. You have worked wonders. πŸ™‚

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      2. narf7 says:

        Time flies and very soon you will be back with blue skies and up to your neck in allotment work Sue. Enjoy your down time with crafting that beautiful greenhouse (when you can) and know that your granddaughter is going to absolutely love it and it will be one of her most treasured possessions πŸ™‚

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      3. Yes, my daughter says it should be an heirloom lol. and with the time I took yesterday with it.. I made a watering can out of paper pieces, a small paint brush and pencil and two trowels out of toothpicks and I cut the trowel end out of a small piece of aluminium sheet provided with the kit.. Today I am tackling spades forks plant pots and flowers :-).

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      4. narf7 says:

        That sounds amazingly intricate Sue! Please share a few photos of the finished article on your blog please (when you finish it that is πŸ˜‰ )

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I keep taking photos at various stages Fran… the light is too bad today.. Its 11 30 ish am and i have a lamp on in the living room. We had gales last night.. thought the roof would come off, it blew so hard.. 70 mph according the the news today.. But we are all in one piece.. πŸ™‚ the plants a little battered but no trees down near us, just a few small branches on the road..
        While other places have no power, fallen trees and turned over high sided Trucks on roads. and High bridges are closed.. Snow a problem further North of here and Scotland has had it bad.. So feeling pretty lucky. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      6. narf7 says:

        That sounds pretty wild! Today we are having a 35C day so we are going to hibernate inside for the duration. I really don’t like hot weather and will be watering the plants early to make sure that they all survive. Glad your storm passed you by πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      7. So was I Fran.. πŸ™‚ xxx Hope you kept cool. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      8. narf7 says:

        It was HOT! But late in the afternoon the clouds went over the sun and cooled it a bit so at least we had a bit of relief πŸ™‚

        Like

  8. Robbie says:

    OH, MY GOSH!!! WOW! Amazing. The picture of you weeding made me not mind sitting in front of my computer for a few days-LOL. The best workout in the world is weeding. I have never sweat and been so sore as after weeding a garden from the brambles of overgrowth…exhausting!
    Earls chicken harem-too funny! You always make me laugh. Our garden is under ice, snow and just nothing growing out there…BUT my kale. Which I have been eating and hope to post about soon. Yep, Dwarf Scotch Blue Kale is the only thing edible in our garden. I have to thaw it out but can make a meal with it.
    Everything looks beautiful.
    Your artistic shots are stunning..what a view those sunsets….A gift to you:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      That’s interesting about the kale Robbie. I planted 3 kinds of kale seedlings that I bought from a local nursery and 2 of them bolted straight to see. Only the Cavelo Nero kale has persisted and is now being decimated by the white cabbage moths but as they prefer it to my young broccoli plants, I think I don’t mind so much πŸ˜‰ I am SO glad that we worked so hard earlier in the summer as now it is starting to heat up with a vengeance and there is no WAY that I want to be out there in that kind of heat working hard! We can sit back and enjoy the relative cool of indoors while that hot ozone free sun beats down on our roof. I am currently crocheting a friend a lovely doll pattern for her little granddaughters birthday and then I am going to make another one for an online friend in New Zealand’s little disabled granddaughter. They are nice big dolls and the one for the little girl who can’t see very well is going to have lots of textured yarn etc. and perhaps a bell sewn into it for sensory amusement. I wouldn’t have had the time to do this if we hadn’t have knocked out that hard work early.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Robbie says:

        oh, just getting back to seeing comments. Heat…LOL..I’m enjoying today and it is near 40 degrees and I will head out this afternoon to s pend time outdoors for it will be close to 48 degrees! WOW, that is warm for here now-LOL…You are so right getting t he work done early in teh season does free up time. I am hoping to to that this year. I hope to post this sunday. I’ve been finding it hard to get posts started this year, I feel once I get one out there I’ll keep up unless I get swamped!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. narf7 says:

        I was thinking the same thing. I need to write another post πŸ™‚ We are harvesting tomatoes and green beans and strawberries at the moment and tomorrow is going to be almost 100F in Tasmania in honour of Steve’s birthday! I don’t even want to think about the day after as it is going to likely exceed that o_O Here’s to a change of seasons. The only thing worthwhile is that I am harvesting fresh fruit and veggies and that makes my heart sing πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Fran, A dead computer is a major disaster so a hasty replacement is absolutely necessary. I find it amazing that within my lifetime, a personal computer and the internet have gone from being a twinkle in some inventors’ eyes to being a necessity of life like a washing machine and refrigerator.
    If Earl wasn’t inclined to eat them, I am wondering if goats could be of assistance in managing blackberries because they will be back demanding your attention again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Every year the blackberries come back and one day we most likely will get some goats (sadly when Earl is out of the picture) but for the moment they keep us fit, on the look out (aware) and mentally processing where they are going to come up next so I guess they aren’t all bad πŸ˜‰

      Like

  10. Jane says:

    I only grow kale and broccoli through the winter months. I’ll start some seed in paper pots soon and plant them out end of February -start of March. Any holey leaves will be picked off and give to the chooks, I find then I get bug free plants for the rest of their growing season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I will take your advice about the kale and broccoli Jane. I just harvested a wheat bag full of red Russian kale stalks covered in seeds. I will plant some out to see if I have better luck growing them out over winter. I have broccoli with lots of holes in the leaves at the moment but don’t really care as it’s growing well anyway. Thank you for the tip about the kale and broccoli. Is it the same for cabbages and cauliflower?

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  11. Jane says:

    Yep, I think all brassicas and related plants grow and taste better if grown in the cooler months. You just need to start them towards the end of the summer, actually for you maybe end of January. I think they need that first growing spurt to get them started. Also broccoli won’t form big heads if it gets frosted as a very young seedling, but it will still form lots of tiny heads that you can use for stir fries etc. I find broccoli and kale seeds the quickest and easiest seeds to germinate and some years they self seed and I get plants then for no work at all. I am so glad I like all the brassicas. I’ve had very limited success with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts mainly because they take so long and ordinary cauliflowers take up a lot of room and I found that picking off leaves with holes in them eventually spoils the curd as lots of little leaves grow through it. One day I might try the mini cauliflowers. Parsnips are sweeter once the frost has hit, but again they need to get going with a bit of warm weather first. If you don’t have frost the parsnips will probably still taste better winter grown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I don’t have anywhere to grow parsnips as much as I love them. I don’t have soil or wicking beds deep enough for the roots to develop. Thank you for your excellent answer Jane. I haven’t tried growing brassicas before today. I tried planting some Chinese cabbages but they bolted straight to seed. The bed I planted them in is now full of them again as they self seeded but who knows if they will form a head this time or just go directly to seed, do not pass go, do NOT collect kimchi! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  12. Jane says:

    If you get things bolting to seed, try planting them later next time. Also a lack of water will cause something’s to bolt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      I don’t think it’s a lack of water as they were planted into wicking beds where the soil is always damp. I will try planting them later. I was using the Australian Organic Gardening site to go by but maybe they were talking about planting seeds rather than seedlings so I may have gotten mixed up.

      Like

  13. Linne says:

    Such a fin post, Narfie! I love all your photos, but have given up trying to comment on everything (remember some of my early comments? lol I have dug blackberries out, too, so I know whereof you speak . . . It’s nice to get all that done, but it’s even nicer to sit back and enjoy the new view, isn’t it? I’m following your adventures with the wicking beds and storing info for the future, as I have no idea where I will end up or what sort of land, if any, I shall have for a garden,..All that food looked wonderful; maybe Steve might be persuaded to post about his recipes? I shan’t be doing that sort of cooking for some time, but one day . . .

    Do post photos of the dolls’ clothing, won’t you? I’m going to be alternating knitting and crochet for the next while, but likely won’t have time for anything like doll clothes. Later, I hope. I haven’t been visiting ’round so much for a while, but I’m glad to be caching up. Your posts are always delightful and generally informative, too. And I love looking at pictures of summer while we have snow, sleet (today) and more snow . . .

    Love and Light to you, Steve and the boys. Enjoy your well-deserved rest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. narf7 says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment Linne. Steve and I have been watching a show called “Brojects” about a couple of Canadian guys who head out to their parents cottage on the lake and build amazingly inventive multipurpose structures to enhance the lifestyle on the lake. Its very funny because they are always competing and it’s highly entertaining. Canada (Antigonish Nova Scotia in particularly where this series is shot) is very beautiful and it would be so easy to grow food there with all of the rain! I am about to embark on learning how to knit. I have been spinning and making my own yarn and want to put it to good use and love how knitting looks so am going to throw myself in at the deep end and learn to knit sock and jumpers. I have bought some circular needle sets and am just waiting for them to arrive from eBay stores. I bought some yarn to make socks with and once I have finished the doll that I am working on, I will hunker down and make some socks. The weather at the moment is NOT conducive to making anything as it has been very hot but we are due a cool change next week which should coincide nicely with the arrival of my knitting needles. Wish me luck!

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