Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Quilt Progress.

 Drizzly rain ( not nearly enough ) on Monday early so I got sewing time. I now have got the outside row of  little squares on and am ready to add white borders.
Today is the day the  old back door  is out  and the new door is being put in. So far so good I think. 
( Lots of banging, sawing, chiselling and mess ) Of course it is not straight forward  but R and the builder bloke are nutting it out . Photos when complete.
 I had a lovely time at my friend's birthday dinner, last Thursady. Under the table where I was sitting was Guide dog  Charlie.
 Seen here looking out to memorial Park, when he went for some air.
He is on holiday with his "foster parents," as his blind Dad and Mum ( not blind )  are away in Wellington at a Bowls Tournament. By coincidence I happen to know both his parents and have worked with his Dad when he was still partially sighted. He was strapping kiwifruit pallets then, in a packhouse where I used to audit.  His Mum was on the Office staff at Zespri when I was there as field staff. They own and work a Kiwifruit Orchard and he is able to do a surprising amount of kiwifruit work just by feel. They also pack their Kiwifruit at the same packhouse we do and as it happens I will be seeing them soon. I will be able to report that Charlie was quite happy and very, very well behaved when he went out to Dinner. His blind Dad also sails.
 Photo, Memorial Park  in Tauranga at dusk. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fruit Getting Spoilt.

 We still have had no decent rain and pests like Passion vine hoppers are thriving.They excrete honeydew seen here as wet sticky blobs. Sooty mould then grows on the honeydew. Nothing will get it off and it makes the fruit into rejects.( the fruit in the photo (click to enlarge )  are the correct shape etc and I pulled them off just one plant. There is very little we are allowed to do ( that is effective ). We had a pyGanic spray  a few days ago and then a lactic acid ( clean up spray ) to see if any of the honeydew would wash off. ....not really ) Today we got a new heavyduty dust buster and I am doing the edges of blocks with that. It does suck them up but the battery soon runs down and it takes lots of time and patience. But I have to try something.
 I am still picking this many every second day. R is picking loads of big red tomatoes too. We have cucumbers and courgettes and lettuce still doing well. I have let the broccoli got to seed - too many pests on it. It is attracting white butterflies.
 Over the weekend my sister and partner were here. They can't walk far so we went driving all around the neighbourhood. We were taken by surprise how much new development there was. Here are some sights we saw.
 A new pontoon in the inner harbour where folk were fishing.
 The Mt. is in the distance.
 Here are some attractively coloured hydrangeas being grown under shade cover for the export market.

This is lying in the carport till next Wednesday when a builder is going to take out the old door and frame and put this new one in.  Our new backdoor, with some blue glass.

 I am having the afternoon off as I am going to a friend's Birthday Party at 6 pm  and it's VERY hot and I usually work till 5.50 each evening. The boss ( me ) said it was  okay.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The View From The Mt.

 Yesterday morning Son and R walked around the Mt. Dear Daughter in Law indulged me and went up the Mt. with me.( she can do it easily ) It is probably 10 years since I had done that climb and found it really hard going. Several times I had to stop for a rest I am ashamed to tell. BUT I got there. It took 50 minutes up and 20 down. It was an amazingly clear blue sky and already hot by 9.30.
 This shows other climbers looking out at the view. 3 cruise ships in the harbour below.
 For those of you unfamiliar with Mount Maunganui ( Maori name Mauao )( 761 ft or 232 metres high )there is  an old dormant volcanic cone at the end of a narrow strip of land and has ocean sea on one side ( top left in photo ) and inner harbour port on the right.
 I thought I was quite a good walker, but  up steep steps I struggled. Probably we should have taken the longer road track which is further but less steep just an incline all the way.( Council vehicles, ambulances etc. use it )
 Fortunately my knees were okay coming down the steps and I didn't slip. Other young fit people running full tilt dowwwwwwwwnward past me was the scariest part.
 There were all shapes and sizes and ages doing the climb. One dad had a babe in a backpack. Well done that man. Lots of locals do that climb every day. Some really fit folk run up.
 From now on my exercising will include more climbing.  

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

3 Good Things.

Over the last 3 days we have had a little much needed rain, mainly during the night. We also got our Avocados picked. 15.5 bins. The second pick for the season . That's it for this season.( 45.5 bins all together ) Next round will be in November 2015.( that fruit is already set and just tiny at the moment ).
 On Sunday I snuck away for a couple of hours up to Katipatch Garden Party and Quilt Hanging. The weather was cloudy( quite a relief after all the sunny days )  and a bit dodgy but they got away with it.

 Quilts were put up quickly after a shower and most weren't named. This was hand quilted. That's a fantail.

Quilts were hung against the shed; in the shed on the washing lines and in one room. Why not?

 There were stalls and refreshments.The garden is lovely. Mr. B has all manner of fruit trees and  a vege patch.( avocados;blueberries ; strawberries passionfruit ;apples; pears and currants.)
 If you are in the area Katipatch is well worth the visit. You can also order on line. Carol and her helpers are all lovely knowledgeable ladies.

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.