Monday, January 26, 2015

Is that Patchwork?

It's along time since I put any patchwork or quilting content on this blog. I just looked back and it was November the 18th the last time I mentioned what I was sewing. Yesterday and the previous Sunday afternoon I gave myself sewing time! 
 With the heat we have been having I didn't feel like sitting inside sewing for some weeks  ( and my gear was all in the cupboard ) but now that I have all my gear back on the table and have made some progress the desire to complete this quilt has returned.
" What are you making?" A the casual question as a certain person walked by. My cheeky reply was, "bunting," as I held up the string piecing of these little squares.
 It was a little more obvious when I laid them on the table once some were joined.
I have made all the horizontal sashing strips and joined the flower blocks. 

I have made longer  vertical sashing and joined row 1 and 2 and also 3 and 4.
 Here they are on my design wall ( which is really laying on the family room floor.)
Next I have to make more vertical sashing to join 5 and 6 then a row for down each edge , then a row for top and bottom. ( so that is quite a bit of joining still )
 Some of you (Pip ) will know how far I have got with this.

 It is so dry now we are spending a lot of time watering. We are also spending a lot of time harvesting vegetables. The over done items are being fed to the neighbour's pig Penelope.
 Yesterday R picked big red tomatoes, courgettes and beans. I picked scarlet runners, little yellow tomatoes ( lots ) 2 cucumbers and some broccoli. I also picked strawberries and some small blueberries. Birds are eating the plums which are colouring but not really ready.  My lovely little lettuces are now finished and the next lot not quite ready. ( it's probably too hot for lettuces to hold for long before shooting to seed.)
 I was able to pick some fresh flowers for the dining-room this morning. Picking flowers has to be a favourite thing for me. Just as well as I spend enough time tending them.
 Calla lilies which last well in water, alstromeria, pink roses - appleblossom and pink sparrieshoop.
 Today is a public holiday ( Anniversary weekend for Northland, Auckland and BOP. )
 I think it is also Australia Day for my Aussie Friends . Happy Australia Day!
 I might even give myself some more sewing time......

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Good Read.

In the BOP we are experiencing a spell of hot humid weather. For us that means long days as we try to get up early and get some work done before it gets too hot, then also working the other end of the day after sunset. Lots of gardening and watering and vege picking. Lots of fruit thinning in the kiwifruit and not much of interest on TV to watch, so stretching out with a book that is an enthralling read is the best relaxation at the moment.
 I hadn't come across this Australian author before but will look out for some of her  other 5 books listed in the front of this one.
 It is a novel but based on historical fact and set in 2 times WW2 and the year 2000, both in Russia. It highlights what a madman Stalin was and how the Russian people suffered at the hands of their own let alone the enemy. I would recommend this book.
 The one  programme ( now finished ) that I have  been following on TV over it's 6 episodes was ANZAC Girls. Really showed those women's heroism and the folly and waste of war.
 Ironing the lawn!
 This picture illustrates how hot it has been. One day we had some visitors call in and because  there were vehicles everywhere I parked  my tractor, with the metal bucket on the back, here on the front lawn. I left it there over lunch time and the heat of the mid day sun turned the bucket into a rectangular iron which scored the grass . OOps!

Despite the heat some flowers in the garden are still looking good. I now have yellow featuring in my wild flower patch. I think they are coreopsis.

 In other parts of the garden I took these.
 Echinacea Tomato Soup.

 Dark purple almost black petunia.
 One of several yellow gerbras.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

January Gardening.

Wishing You are Happy New Year!

January is already being a busy time for us, but the weather is great and we are fitting in some time off as well as work but have both been busy in the garden.  Most things are flourishing.
  The 2 courgette plants currently producing just might be the healthiest ones we have ever grown. I suspect they like the straw mulch around their roots ...they are standing up not sprawling on the ground as they sometimes do.
 This morning I picked these Greenfeast peas from R's walled garden.
Off this row. ( sweetcorn behind  and bumble bee box ) 
 The courgettes, peas and beans must be picked daily to ensure they keep cropping.
 The silver beet is doing well too.
 We are eating my little tom thumb lettuces as fast as we can - they are so crisp.
 Right that is 6 shades of green . Perhaps some other colours now.

 Blue cornflowers . Here is my wildflower patch. I use the term wild flower loosely Isabelle. It does have official wild flowers in there but also packets of seed which grow rapidly and EASILY at this time of the year( Cornflowers,  Cosmos , Zinnias ) ( NZ would have no native wild flowers of it's own...hence Californian Poppies; Soldier poppies,  English flowers, South African flowers )
 Wherever they are from the bees and I are loving them.

 I have picked my first little yellow drop tomato I won that race...R's big ones are not far behind. ( just starting to show colour )
 I have also picked 15 blueberries and weeded then and tried to cover them with nets. R's has hung old discarded CDs on hooks which flash around in the breeze to try and keep the birds off.

 Now for this photo you will need to look closely. It is a bumble bee coming out of the door in it's box ( hive I suppose ) . There is also one disappearing into the left doorway. This bee box is inside the walled garden and is very active.

This is a poor photo but I'll show it anyway as I don't have a better one. It is of a Bumble bee's back end. The yellow bits are the full pollen sacks on it's legs.
 As I was trying to get close with the camera the bumble bees kept bumping into me, but carried on unperturbed.

 Tomorrow we are having some help come in, to work with us pulling off defective Kiwifruit. Ones that will never make it to export.
 These are examples I have ready to show them, of what we want picked off. Doubles ;ones with hooks; too wide; too squat; or already rubbed on something ( front left - brown mark )  These are not regular kiwfruit shape..and regular ( exportable )  are the only sort we want the vine putting nutrients into. They need to be off the vines now so the good fruit left will plump up to a good size.
 R and I have been working at this job but need help to get it done now.

 I have finished reading one book and started another and we have been to a very pleasant 80th birthday BBQ where the son ( a chef ) made Calamari for entrée...very tender and yummy. So just a little relaxation. 
 Most of my garden in the shade is weeded, the sunny spots less so as it's been just too hot in the sun. After dinner at night is a good time but luckily it gets dark and makes me come inside.
 We are now watering things to just maintain them.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sunny Bay of Plenty.

 During the last week we have been up to Waihi Beach ( about 35 - 40  minutes drive away ) where our younger family members were staying. Here are some coastal scenes of the beach.
Sometimes it was breezy enough to fly a kite.
While walking I spied theses scenes.
 Gazanias, ice plants and Bunny tails. 

 A Yucca above rocks retaining the sand dunes from erosion. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

From Me To You.

Wishing You All, My Bloggy Friends,

      "Happy Christmas, 
              Happy Holidays , 
                       Happy Families."

Things that have made me smile today: 
1.Googles animated Christmas story.
2. That again this year an Auckland dentist has offered the first 100 patients to line up a free filling or extraction . ( I imagine if you had toothache and couldn't afford it would be a godsend.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Local Café.

The closest Café ( Nourish )  to where we live recently was awarded the Best Café in the Upper North Island, I have been there several times for coffee but today as it was our 47th Anniversary we went there for lunch. At this time of the year everywhere is busy and the place was certainly humming.
 Over the years since this building  was built this appears to be the most successful business there yet. ( they only open for breakfast and lunch )  The gardens out front were looking very bright.
 As often happens when eating out one person likes their meal more than the other. Today I was the lucky one, R was not so  enthusiastic about his meal.( a lamb wrap ) 
 I had sweet potato stacks which was served with baby spinach and topped with 2 softly poached eggs. It was a large helping but just delicious. Even after 3 hours working on the kiwifruit vines when we got back and only a cup of lemon and ginger green tea for smoko I still felt full at dinner time so just had a light snack. Today was one of my days when I got lots and lots done and it was a lovely warm day.
 Tonight I watched the 3rd of 4 parts of the ANZAC Girls which I am really enjoying.
 I hope you all had a good day too!  

Friday, December 19, 2014

New Zealand Christmas Tree.

 The New Zealand Christmas tree, Maori and common name Pohutukawa. Botanical Name Metrosideros excelsa, flowers in December and this year this one is late, but  that's good because it is flowering right near Christmas.
 We have many on our property. This one is beside the driveway into our house so gets noticed daily.
 Others further down the drive flower a little later so we have Christmas trees for some weeks. Heavy recent rain hasn't damaged this one ( yet ...more rain coming )
 There is a close up of the flower at the top of my right hand side bar.
 There are also yellow flowered varieties ( not nearly as impressive ). The Pohutukawa is related to Rata and Feijoas.

 Here's some of the heavy recent rain. It trashed the garden a bit but now everything is growing good for our fruit crops.