Wednesday, January 16, 2019

When We grow a Lot of Produce........

When we grow a lot of produce quite a lot of time has to be spent picking and processing/ eating it.
 The big pot is plum sauce . The smaller is stewed to freeze plums.  
Early Billington plums.Lovely Colour!
 The plum sauce filled these recycled sterilised bottles. ( about 6 litres in all ) 
Yummy sweetcorn cobs now ready.
These cobs must have been well pollinated as they are tight with no kernels missing. Just a little butter and black pepper is all I like on them.

I have been reading "Becoming, "   by Michelle Obama.  An enjoyable biography. Quite an insight into how a first lady has to live.

A little light rain has meant some inside time.
 Sewing in this house still seems a bit strange. I can't find things as they are all in big containers ( and so very neat )   at the other end of the house. They have to remain that way. (Before ( In the previous house )  I could open up my big cupboard and eye ball things, especially the fabric.) 
 I am trying to think of a solution...maybe a trolley of some sort would help.

 I made a list of the projects I wanted to start; complete or extend. 
This is an extension. I already ( way back in 2011 and before )  made several letters to hang ( peg  up )  a banner/ word bunting with interchangeable letters.
 It got used at Christmas; then at a Sales Table at an Exhibition. Then at a a wedding party.  In order to write more / different messages I need more letters.
 I also want to make sure I have all the letters for both Grandson's names.
 These are 3 layers : backing batting and top with machine sewn letter and binding which is then hand sewn down on the back. 6 inches square.  The binding is the fiddly part.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Hot January Weather.

This week things are quiet again at our place. The Grandsons and their parents had to return to the big smoke ( for work ) at the weekend. After days of much washing, ironing ,and cleaning today I have done jobs off my, " To do, " list like weeding under the hedge at the top of a retaining wall while clinging by my toes above a 4 foot drop; removing the decorations from the Christmas tree then taking  it down.  Weeding and watering and planting some new purchases.
 Most of the plants were for the front entrance at the end of a quite long driveway.
 These few cornflowers I planted from seed direct some months ago. On each side of the drive where it turn out to the road is a quite large magnolia tree. That makes under planting quite tricky because of the many surface roots.

I put in 2 Hostas and a Vireya Rhododendron called Just Peachy. Behind them is a patch of seedling Asters I grew from seed myself in a tray. ( just by the sensor for the lights ) 
 On the opposite side of the drive the garden is a bit smaller ( as yet ) but there I put 2 red Vireyas and a hosta. It will sort of match but not precisely. The magnolias constantly drop leaves on everything below.

 Things I planted earlier, in the small side garden where I dug out the box hedge, are now rewarding with colour and pickable roses.

 I have also weeded  under the 2 cherries I have circular garden around.
 The Billington Early plum tree s laden...plums being given away. Loads still to pick.
 Maybe I better make some plum sauce. ( they are red fleshed and sweet ) 

 Both sorts of beans ( my scarlet runners and R's small green ones ) are producing profusely.
 The tomatoes now cropping well and the sweet corn about a week away from ready.

 Finally to prove I did finish smaller Grandson's felt embroidered Ball for him.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Season's Greetings to You All.

In the subdivision / Community where we now live we have a lovely NZ Christmas tree  on a small round about which is flowering at just the right time.

 Zealand Pohutukawa tree.( or Christmas Tree ) 

 Every time we go out in the car we go around this tree to get to the  gate way , then main road. I also walk there quite often .

 Last evening we had friends in for dinner and that was very pleasant. ( tomorrow is our 51st Wedding Anniversary, so a wee celebration of that.  And a belated house warming.) 

Later tonight 2 grandsons and their parents arrive so things will get busy around here.
  I am currently working on the very last Hexagon/ motif  on littler Grandson's felt embroidered ball so that's good. At 4.5 months old he will probably enjoy the wrapping paper better anyway.
 We have a lovely Christmas tree in the lounge as yet without decorations, as 3 year old grandson and his parents can help me with that.

 Wishing All My Blog Readers a Very Happy time over the Christmas Season.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Some Bright Things.

Some of the things I have planted in the new garden are rewarding us with bright displays. This dahlia Holly Houston being the biggest show off.
 The Golden Wedding Rose my sister gave me ( that spent the first 6 months in a bucket at her place till she could safely get it to us ) sat for a while became acclimatised then grew. These are its first 3 flowers. It has only a mild scent.
Looking out from inside, this corner garden is doing well. I pulled out the box hedging along its front so I could grow some flowers.

 I  started a herb garden along the back wall within easy access of the kitchen even if it is raining. So far there are 2 mint ,1 parsley, 2 sage, a rosemary and a thyme.  Some basil seeds I planted in the gaps are just through.

 Sorry this is sideways.
 The felt ball has gained  2 more motifs.

 Just 3 to go now.
 Over the weekend I planted 2 new blueberry plants. A variety I haven't had before - very large berries, called Oneal. This morning R has been making me a bird proof cage around them with an opening part so I can pick the expected crop if they thrive.

 The house is filled with the scent of Christmas lilies. They all fell over in the wind so I have been picking them. It can become a bit heady, but along with the smell of fruit mince pies cooking it suits me.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

It's a Wet Blustery Day Today.

Rain and wind going side ways some of the time. Shower after shower. Most outside activities around Tauranga cancelled. We have both only ventured outside once. R to empty the compost bucket, me to pick courgettes and silver beet and to check out the height of the tide down at the jetty.
             The sky pretty much tells the story.
 The 2 metre tide is touching the side boards ( bottom ) along the jetty. The highest I've seen.
 I'm not sure we left our fire heap ( on the left ) far enough away from the bank.

 The firewood is the trunk of the liquid amber that toppled in a storm 3 ( or 4 )  weeks ago. I hope it doesn't float away.

 Back inside I have been making Banana Bread to put in the freezer for when Grandson is here. R has been making marmalade from frozen pulp we had in the freezer from back at the orchard. ( the new owners have pulled out the orange trees to plant 2 more avocados.....silly move as the avo spray will get on the kiwifruit! ) ( the oranges were spray free ) 
 We will be able to make different varieties from the fruit trees here. ( grapefruit ; orange and  Lime ) 

The felt ball for younger Grandson now has a dolphin and a kite.
 4 more motifs to add ,so getting there.

The only rose in this garden when we came here was this one. 2 bushes side by side, quite shaded but producing lots of lovely blooms. It has a slight perfume only slight and I don't know what it is called. The buds appear white with a lime green tinge but it has an underlying yellow hue. when open.
 Any ideas what rose it might be? It was lovely in a big vase. ...lasted well.

 If you live near me I hope you are staying warm and dry and finding inside activities. Not difficult at this time of the year.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Bird Watcher.

I suppose a country childhood started the habit of bird watching.
 Living 40 years on the orchard reinforced the habit and now living above an estuary has extended my constant observing of birds.
 Since we moved here over 4 months ago we have compiled a list of birds we have seen.on or near our property.
 Some daily, some only occasionally and fleetingly.
 These books  are a good reference.( the 3 fiat ones now old, were got when our kids were little ) (the top one Birds of the Waikaraka Estuary and Tauranga Harbour,is more recent.)
( That's not our estuary but the next one along. Ours is an off shoot of the Te Puna Stream. )

 Royal Spoonbills are the most recent interesting sighting. Apparently there are 6. We have seen 5 on several occasions. I can't yet get a good close photo, so have shown the one from the book.They are quite large birds and really good at vacuuming!. 
 One morning I spotted 4 in this old dead tree I can see from the upstairs window.
From a different angle I can see where the estuary comes in a narrow channel to the bottom of our garden.

 This is what I can see downstairs from the dining room windows.

 The birds we have on our list are:-
Sparrows; Thrush; Blackbirds; Tui; Hawk; Fantail; Silver eyes; Doves ; Pukeko; Ducks;Canadian geese; Mynahs; Kingfishers; Pheasants; Seagulls ; Quails; Plovers; Shags; White faced Herons; Chaffinch; Goldfinch; Welcome swallows; Pied stilts; Malay spotted doves; Rosellas;Grey Warbler and Royal Spoonbill.

 The Canadian geese and ducks of course leave a awful mess by the water so we watch where  we walk.
Here are some evening photos I took down near the water's edge.

I wonder how many more different birds we can add to our list?
( Click on photos to enlarge ).

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Stitching on a Felt Embroidered Ball.

 Recently I used a voucher I had to get  some new embroidery threads to add to my collection.
 They look amazing together don't they.

Today its not pleasant outside so I have been working on my latest felt ball. # 27 that I have made. It is for Grandson # 2.

 This photo shows the stage where I have sewn all 12 pentagons together and have wound the batting  strip stuffing around a bottle top rattle in the middle and inserted  it into the felt pentagon casing. The final seams have to be sewn on the outside . So that final stitching doesn't show and to add interest, I chain stitch around each pentagon edge before working on the 12 mofits.

 Here you can see 6 coloured pentagons 

 Here you can see the other 6.

 I hadn't used a dinosaur motif before. Here it has a red pin stuck in for it's eye. I doubt I can sew an eye to look as good but will try.
 Next I did a Capital C for Grandson Christian name.

 In both photos you can see the white where I have started a chicken. That is 3 of the 12 picture motifs taken care of. I try to make every ball individual to each will make sure none of the motifs that appear on Grandson # 1's ball get put on this one.

 I make all the balls the same size and keep cardboard patterns of all the motifs I make up. I also have a notebook that I started back at ball 1 stage, 18 plus years ago in which I have recorded the detail of each ball; what was on it, who it was for and the date. 
 I have just been looking at that notebook.
 Balls have been made for ( mostly babies ) named :Noah; Tautahi; Amy; James; Jessica; Joshua; Nancy; Jackson; another James; Alex; Aleisha; Poppy; Chloe; George; Scott; Ella; and Lane.
 3 have been made for adults named Pauline , Annie and  Penny. One was given to a fund raising auction.  I still have 3 here the 1st ,2nd and another for playing with at my house.
 Not all balls stayed in NZ. Balls have ended up in Australia ( 2) ; UK and Alaska.
 My eye sight is not nearly as good these days so the early balls were probably neater..
 Right, back to the needle and thread.