Monday, 25 February 2013

Garden notes



1, 2 & 3: Garden beds
4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9: Camuesa dell'obregrat apples, fattening pears, feijoa, eggplants, cherry tomato jungle, cherry tomato harvest
10: Bramley apples, or what the birds left me rather

It's been nearly seven weeks since my first garden post, I had hoped to do it monthly but that didn't quite work out! So much has changed it's hard to know where to begin. Here are some of the highs and lows:

Let's start with the lows... 
:: the birds got most of my Early Vaille and Bramley apple crops
:: and a lot of my early cherry tomatoes - I must invest in some bird netting next year!
:: whilst being too lazy to get a knife to cut a zucchini one morning I broke the stem so there's no more zucchini
:: there's been very little rain and it's very dry

Right, now they're out of the way here are the highs
:: bowls and bowls full of sweet juicy golden cherry tomatoes, they're piling up on the bench here so I need to think of something to do with them. The kids are loving them, calling them my garden lollies, I love that!
:: Anth discovered six peacherines in the much neglected bank orchard, these trees are only two years old and although they were the size of golf balls, they were the most delicious bits of fruit I've eaten all summer
:: I managed to save five Bramley apples, they are sitting in the fridge waiting for me to stew them up with cinnamon to have on my breakfast
:: The beans have kept on giving, we're enjoying them raw, and cooked with dinner quite a few nights a week, I'll start to freeze some now so we can enjoy them in the depths of winter
:: A bucket full of Camuesa dell'obregrat apples made their way into lunchboxes, stewed apple and apple crumble
:: Beans, parsley and spring onions featured in Tui Creek's Maxi veggie boxes
:: A small but lovely harvest of rainbow carrots, mostly white in colour funnily enough
:: Two baby eggplants growing by the day, I'm hoping we don't run out of summer before they're ready
:: Cutting back the rambling tomatoes gave me space to plant broccoli, purple cauliflower, buttercrunch lettuce and spring onions
:: The fruit on the feijoas are getting fatter by the day, despite the lack of water
:: The pears are fattening up nicely too, another few weeks I'd say and we'll have crates full of them

So that's where we're at here in the last week of February. The nights are drawing in and there's a definite chill in the air in the early morning. Autumn is nearly upon us but there's still plenty of summer left in the garden for a month or so more I'd say. This week I hope to plan and get more winter garden crops started, oh and do something with all those cherry tomatoes!

Sunday, 24 February 2013



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.
Ella: This girl of ours takes her bike riding very seriously, a trail has been made through the paddocks and it's her favourite thing to do at the moment.
Lucia: Our bush sleeper, on a walk in Belmont Regional Park we'd turn the corner and there she'd be - we called it power-napping! She needed that bit of extra energy to get up the steep hill at the end....  
Marcus: Our tree climber boy, he was particularly intent on me getting a shot of the hole in his pants, he has such a great sense of humour.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Fifteen years ago I married this wonderful man. We were married at a lovely wee church on the city fringe and our reception was in the country - back then that is. Now the suburbs have caught up and the country is now the city fringe. Funny how life turns out, I see that wee church on the hill everyday now, it is part of the community we live in, right next to where the kids go to school. 

Fifteen years ago I was still at University and Anthony was working in the job that kick-started his IT career.  Fifteen years ago we had no idea that we would leave the following year for London, the place we were to live nearly eight years, the place that made us rather than broke us.

Fifteen years later it is not just us, we have three beautiful children, a rural postcode, a business, a great job, I could go on..... I am so lucky to have married this man, my best friend, the love of my life, the man who's been through the good, bad and downright ugly with me. Here's to another fifteen years!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Yarn Along

My Tea Leaves is off the needles and awaiting having its ends sewn in, blocking and button choosing - hurray, I'm so pleased to have it finished!

I've been deliberating over a pattern for the birthday present scarf for quite some time but looking at Ginny's scarf last week decided it for me. I've cast-on the Old Shale Scarf by Tiennie, and I'm knitting it on bigger needles to give it a more open lighter look, it's not like we have terribly cold winters here after all. It should go faster too. Since it's cream I decided I needed a wee drawstring bag to keep it clean in so I whipped up something colourful using this fabric from my stash -  now I can take it anywhere.

I finished Morality for Beautiful Girls last night and am pondering having a wee break from Alexander McCall Smith, I'm hesitating because there's only one more book in the series... can I go just one more?? I'm having trouble working out what to read next though so I'll have a look around the Yarn Along posts to see if anything catches my eye and is immediately available at the library. Decisions decisions!

Joining in with Ginny.

Sunday, 17 February 2013



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.
Ella: An after-dinner wander through the paddocks
Lucia: She never fails to bring home a few treasures from her walks that she spots with her eagle eye, here she's found a birds nest, a tennis ball and some sheep wool
Marcus: Cuddles with his pet lamb Daisy - she's still a little confused about whether she's a sheep or a human.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Yarn Along

I am so close to finishing my Tea Leaves, I'm just picking up the stitches for the front bands then I'll be done. I've been itching to begin my next project but I've resisted the lure so far, I know I'll be grateful for the warmth of a finished cardigan in the coming weeks.

I have bought the yarn for my next project however, my best friend has requested a lacy scarf in cream and I hope to have it finished in time for her birthday. The yarn I chose is Haven 100% NZ Merino in cream (her choice), it's so lovely and soft it'll be perfect next to her skin. The pattern is proving a little more difficult to decide on, there are soooo many possibilities in these three books I have out of the library, not to mention the multitude on Ravelry! Luckily I have a little more time to decide, I hope to have it all settled on by the time I sew the ends in on my Tea Leaves.

In other reading, I'm onto the third book of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series - Morality For Beautiful Girls. They are such quick easy books to read which is perfect since I've  had quite a few late nights recently watching Lark Rise to Candleford on DVD, I love a good BBC period drama and the knitting is so gorgeous - I see a shawl in my project queue this winter!

Joining in with Ginny.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The dress and the shrug

I love wearing dresses, they make me feel happy. I do find it hard to find dresses that fit me nicely but I have been lucky to score a few good ones from the op shop. I saw some beautiful 50's inspired dresses at a handmade market and although I'd dearly loved to have bought one,  I just couldn't afford to pay the price on the tag. It started me thinking though and the next time I was in a fabric store I had a flick through the pattern books. Turns out there are lots of patterns for 50's inspired dresses and I bought home New Look 6910 where it sat for a good month or so in the "too hard" basket. On another trip to that same store I came across some fabric that I fell in love with, even though it was mustard, not a colour I had ever worn and I was dubious about whether it would suit me or not, it was just perfect for my dress. When I got the fabric home I realised that the Mae shrug I was knitting in Teal was made for it, it matched the little blue flowers on the fabric. So despite the shrug being off the needles for a month or so requiring only having the ends sewn in and blocking, it sat in the basket, waiting for its dress.

Once I'd worked up the courage to cut out the pattern, the actual making of the dress didn't take too long when I got down to it. I found the instructions a little tricky in parts but it all made sense and worked out once I was doing it. The only changes I made were lowering the neckline and keeping the belt plain, I decided against the bow. The most challenging thing for me was the zip, it's still not as good as I would have liked but I'm getting better.

I started the Mae shrug designed by Carrie Bostick Hoge late last year, the yarn is the gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious, a deliciously soft silk merino blend in Teal. It was a really easy knit, perfect for times when mindless knitting is called for. I'll ravelry it and add a link when I work out how....

So, on Saturday afternoon it all came together, the dress and the shrug had their first outing - dinner at a restaurant with my lovely husband. I'm so grateful for grandparents who like to have all three grandchildren for sleepovers occasionally.

PS: Please excuse the photos, too much sun and a model who really dislikes being on that side of the camera.

Sunday, 10 February 2013



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.
Ella: Hanging out with her soft-toy friends
Lucia: On her bike with places to go, she has such a great imagination
Marcus: Catching and looking after cicadas is a very serious job

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Yarn Along

I haven't been knitting a lot lately but I have been managing a few stitches most days on my tapestry.  Even though progress is slooooow and this will probably take all year to finish, I'm thinking it will be good to have a photo once a month, showing me that I am indeed making progress.

I have been reading a lot more in the last couple of weeks thanks to finding Alexander McCall Smith. His books make for easy light reading, perfect for those nights when I'm almost asleep when my head hits the pillow.

I'm joining in with Ginny and looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to. 

Monday, 4 February 2013


I cannot believe we are in February already. Last week signalled the end of our school holidays and I feel like the summer has passed me by, what happened to all those adventures I had planned? Where were all the lazy days spent at the beach? How did we make it through six weeks with only four nights camping? When I look at the photos on my camera though I realise we did get to the beach a couple of times, we did have a couple of day outings, but still, it wasn't quite like I'd planned it at the beginning. And now it's February, the kids are back at school for another year.

While bigger adventures are off the menu for now, we did manage to fit in a weekend adventure this hot late summer weekend. We loaded up the four-wheel drive (4wd) truck and headed north to Palmerston North on Friday after school finished. On Saturday we met up with a group of adventurers and made our way north of Ashurst into the Ruahine Ranges. The track began in farmland, climbed up into native bush then higher still onto the ridge at the top of the ranges. The views were amazing, you could see for miles in all directions.

After lunch we headed back down the range and back to Ashurst where the trucks and the kids had a play in the Pohangina river. The landscape in the area is dominated by the Manawatu Wind Farm, in fact you can see them on the horizon even before you arrive in Palmerston North.  Everywhere you looked to the north you could see hundreds of gracefully spinning wind turbines, it was an incredible sight.

 After a play and BBQ in Ashurst Domain we headed off again north through the Manuawatu Gorge, then up into the North Range. This is wind turbine country. The road was winding, dry and dusty, taking us up through farmland to the top of the range then along the ridge, amongst the machines. It was amazing, it is hard to get a sense of the size and number of these turbines from the photos but they were huge. We got to the ridge just as the sun was setting and the light across the landscape was magical, softening these giants with a rosy glow. To say we were awestruck is an understatement! The road turned into a 4wd track which took us bumping in darkness down the valley to join up with another service road, then onto the road connecting Palmerston North with Paihiatua in the Wairarapa.


What an adventure! The highlights for the kids were the river crossings, the swimming and the getting to stay up late. For me, it was experiencing the freedom of exploring hard-to-reach areas of our country and being in the landscape of the wind giants at sunset. What a perfect adventure to round off the summer.   


Sunday, 3 February 2013




"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013" via Che and Fidel.
Ella: It's hard to get this girl out of trees 
Lucia: Asleep on a very bumpy 4wd track
Marcus: Mastering the flying fox