Monday, January 16, 2017

A Good Read.

Yesterday I finished reading "Scarlet and Magenta," by Lindsey Dawson. A thoroughly good read.
 Part of it's fascination for me was the setting for the first part of the story. Tauranga in 1886.
 I won't be able to walk along Willow Street or up the rise in Wharf Street or along the Strand without thinking about what it might have been like in the late 1800s.
 I don't think I would have made a very seemly Victorian Lady........too many strong opinions of my own! If you google Lindsey's name you can see the other books she has written. Her name will be familiar to NZ  TV viewers  and magazine readers .
 I have spent some time cutting and pinning pebble fabric hexagons for the bottom of my quilt in progress.
 I want to form a garden path along the bottom edge.
 This morning I have been making strawberry conserve . I like strawberries raw but R won't eat them like that, so as I have picked lots in the last couple of days, I cooked some with minimal addition of sugar and he will eat them that way.
 I never did get the bird protective frame I asked for over the blueberries. Instead I draped and pegged flexible netting over most plants. The size is poor compared with bought blueberries but I know they needed more water ( which I have to cart in ) . Still there are lots more colouring up and I will not waste them. A possum has been avoiding the trap and has eaten every single apple;  6 ripening plums and lots of nashi. The crops were light to start with so it is very disappointing. It's a long way from the house so I wouldn't hear a possum. I'll ask for the trap to be reset  The only alternative is to pick fruit before it is properly ripe.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

8 Days of January Gone.

If I haven't already greeted You, " I hope 2017 is a Good Year for You All."
 These lovely fresh green peas missed Christmas but are ready this last week. R is doing all the picking as I have strained my back ( lifting Grandson).
 We both worked together on the podding
 and blanching and freezing.
 This lot are now in small meal sized bags in the freezer.

 Over the last few weeks 2 Blackbirds built a very untidy nest in the grape vine, right outside the lounge window. 

We have been able to observe the comings and goings of the parents feeding just one greedy fledgling.

( It wasn't really that way up )
 Yesterday the young bird was sitting on a wire just above the nest so must be almost ready to take it's first flight.

Back in the vege garden we are now getting the first ripe tomatoes, cucumbers and lots of courgettes .
 For lunch yesterday I made Courgette fritters. ( I love all sorts of  fritters )

 The oil needs to be quite hot and the mixture is best with lots of rough poking out bits that crisp up.
 I adapted another recipe. The quantities don't have to be exact.

 In a large bowl grate 4 medium sized courgettes. 
3/4 cup of tasty cheese grated
 1/2 cup of instant polenta.
 1 teaspoon of cumin seed.
 1 tsp of ground cumin.
 1 tsp of smokey paprika.
 2     large eggs.
 Salt and pepper to taste.
 Fry till golden and crisp on the outside.
 ( spices may be altered to taste - more is best )

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Day of the Year.

 I ( We ) was kindly given some flowers that I was able to select myself. I really love flowers so that was a treat. I chose frilly Lisianthus and 3 types of Carnations - my favourites.
 Big apricot ones,lime green ones and pink and white.ones
 The lisianthus buds are lime green and turn apricot and pink when they open.
 Yesterday was very warm. Warm enough for little Grandson to play in a few inches of sun warmed water in the paddling pool. He loved it.
 He really likes water play of any sort. Cans and hoses in particular. 
 Quilters do you notice the resemblance to Sun Bonnet Sue?
I hope all is well with my blog friends. I have not been spending much time catching up on your activities.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Season's Greetings.

May all my Blogging Friends have a safe and 
Happy Christmas.
 Wishing you fun and laughter  with Family and friends.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Warmer Weather Work.

 The first pick ( of 2 )( 2nd one will be in January )  for export of our avocados got done last week. R drove the tractor, I ground picked and 3 hydraladas  drivers picked all the high up avocados.

 We only picked 20 bins on this pick.

 We were reasonably pleased with the % pack out we got. Some fruit had the scars from hail damage a year ago, but other than that the fruit looked good. Do you like avocados? They are very good for you.
 One day I got a little quilting done on my finished hexagons. The machine is working well after it's service ( still no new tray ) .
 This is the back of a hexagon. the pattern shows up better there. It is a basic petal shape. Each petal pointing out to the tip of the points on the hex.
 This Christmas fabric was suitable to use in my garden theme, so I plan to have quite a patch of poinsettias in it. I like the paler colours of the fabric.
 There has been so much to do in the orchard and the garden with amazing growth.

 I have been replanting this area around the waterlily bowl. It is far brighter than it shows here. With the addition of compost the plants are doing quite well.
 Elsewhere my David Austin rose is flowering well and my new one called Grace has 7 buds so can't wait to see if I like it.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

1000s of Little workers.

 Bees for pollinating the kiwifruit have been in the orchard for a week. Some days have been windy, one wet but 2 brilliant hot, hot days that bees just love. Above is just one of thousands of bees working it's way systematically  around a female flower, hopefully with male pollen already on it to pollinate this flower and hence set a kiwifruit.
 This is a close up of a hive. The bees crawl out the slit door at the bottom, holding on upside down for grip. They then turn right way up and move to a clear space to take off and fly .......we hope to a male first then female kiwifruit flower.
 Notice the pollen sacks already quite large with pollen on the bees leg.

 There are less flowers overall than last year but that is a seasonal thing. It may mean we have less fruit thinning to do. That would be good.
 As well as the 26 bee hives we have had 3 rounds of artificially applied male pollen. The male flowers are picked as they are just about to open, the pollen is milled from the flowers and stored. It is then blown onto female vines and flowers using a handheld leaf blower. It is like insurance to make sure as many flowers as possible get pollinated. 
 I have noticed some tiny fruit are already set.

 Thankyou Nancy for your helpful comment.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sewing Machine is Home.

On Thursday I picked up my sewing machine ( Bernina Aurora 440 ) from the Bernina serviceman. It had been with him since 1st November. I got impatient and rang him to see why it was taking so long and he was waiting on the new plastic slide on table to come. I said I would carry on using my old split one till it arrived...which I did.  My machine had been sitting waiting for 2 weeks or more he said....why didn't he ring me. Anyway I paid for the service and have it back now but was disappointed the communication was SO slack.( I should have got impatient sooner! ) The new tray if it comes will be NZ $59. He showed me an alternative push button tray that cost $180 but involved getting a whole new machine front...... has anyone got one?( that seemed rather extreme and expensive ). I am just going with another tray the same as the original. I will be extra careful with it. Not too much downward weight on it. it's narrowest part it it's weak point.
 Anyway it feel good to have it back home....maybe I can start quilting some of my finished Hexagons.


The Kiwifruit flowering and pollination is going well. We had 2 very very hot days which the bees love. We have had rain yesterday but fine again today. I will show some photos on my next post.
 I couldn't get into blogger today. I hate being beaten by anything computer related so sat and tried again and again.
 Somehow my googlemail email address I have to have for my phone had got in there and it said I didn't have a blog but should start one etc etc. I only want to do my blog from the home desktop computer and our longstanding email address . Eventually I got it changed back and so could get into my blog. I am reasonably techie ( for my age ) but worry when I can't get things to work especially when I know I didn't change anything.
 Anyone else been having problems?
 If I disappear from here it will be because I can't access my own blog for some reason.