Tuesday, May 12, 2015

2015 Kiwifruit Picking.

It is wet here today so we were very lucky with the fine weather yesterday when our whole kiwifruit crop got picked in a day.
 Although everyone was here bright and early 

the fruit and leaves were considered too wet, so picking didn't start till just after 10am.  Empty bins arrived and were unloaded.
Then some of the tractor drivers, truckies, R and R stood around putting the world to right ( as they do )
Once everyone got to work they got stuck in.
 The area closet to the camera has been picked and looks quite different from the fruit laden area.

 They worked in 2 gangs  each with 2 tractors. 
Here drivers Sam and Richard level the fruit on 3 full bins before they transport them up to the loading area.

It was looking as if we didn't have a chance of finishing in the day with 25 pickers when about 2.30 pm another gang who had finished elsewhere arrived and so we got there by 5.15 as the light was fading.
 The new gang had 4 lady pickers who work as hard as the men.
 They were a cheerful lot and there were no incidents or breakdowns all day.

 Colourful too.( notice the hands moving fast. )
 Meanwhile at the loading area Josh was putting the full bins onto the truck.
This is always a good sight ...a truck disappearing down the driveway with a full load .
 In the photo above( left ) you can see where I spent the day. At the table with bowls of fruit cleaning sooty mould off them. As the bins came to the loading area R and I quickly collected the biggest best fruit sitting on top that had sooty on them. I then cleaned them ( as I have been doing for some weeks now ). ( wet  cotton picking gloves and a tooth brush for around the calyx and a spray bottle of CP clean ) It is much quicker and easier when the fruit are already picked. We then feed them back into bins once cleaned. At one stage I took my wet cp clean soaked gloves off and this is how my hands looked.
 Today I have a couple of minor blisters. I probably saved a few hundred fruit from the reject bin.
 A very successful day We picked the largest amount of fruit ever, but know the pack out won't be good because of the sooty mould rejects.

 They pack house rang just now to say some is being packed during the night ...... 2 am and the rest tomorrow. That hasn't given it long to cure ( heal the picking scar ).( It's allowed up to, but no longer than 4 days by the rules )

We did a few jobs outside this morning before the rain set in and are being lazy for the rest of the day. We earned it!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

First on my List of Pleasant Smells.

 The last Rose of Summer ( not a sad one as in Thomas Moore's poem ) but a spray of Charles Austin that I picked and put on the windowsill at the sink where  I can frequently inhale it's delightful perfume.
 It got me wondering what my other favourite smells are.

1.  This rose or any other delightful flower :Violets  Carnations;Daphne; Honeysuckle Freesias etc. )
 2. Grinding Coffee beans.
 3. Freshly baked Bread.
4. Mint being chopped ( or picked or touched )
5. The smell of the sea, or pine trees; or lemons or vanilla or even CRC.
 Do you have a favourite???

 Apparently as one gets older the sense of small (Olfactory ) weakens. Mine hasn't.

 I have been still cleaning kiwifruit. I am now picking them if they are rejects as they are now edible....for us picking time must be quite soon.
 I also decided to pick most of the persimmons .
 The birds and wasps were devouring them. They are ripening in this bin. One of my favourites.
 I have also been doing the walnut pick up but I tell you about that every year. Lots of Beautiful nuts.

I have planted out seedling silver beet; beetroot; broccoli; cauliflower lettuce and celery 
 I got a lovely new red Cyclamen for by the back door.
 I also plant them in the garden. They were very cheap and make wonderful colour at this time of the year.
 The big oak tree in the garden is now dropping leaves daily. so this is what an Autumn scene looks like.
 As you can see my Vireya rhododendrons are flowering well.
 There delights are visual not smell.
 The buds are quite interesting too.
 Apart from taking in some trousers the sewing machine has been idle, but the knitting needles have been busy. I will eventually show you what on.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Make the Most of a Fine Day.

It's a very wet day here for our Monday holiday in NZ. I am glad I made the most of a fine day on Saturday when I walked up and over the Quarry Track and visited some of the garden sites along the way.
 A newish peaceful reflective place.
 The succulent bank.
 The Bonsai Corner.
 I looked down on our orchard below - ( slightly right of the middle - trimmed hedges and flat kiwifruit blocks.)
 From a different viewpoint our house is visible in the trees.

 I met a Monarch butterfly, ( one of many ) 
 on a very bright single dahlia and I said very nicely...."Would you please spread your wings."
 And it did.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

100 Years.

25th April 2015.

  ANZAC Poppies.      Papaver Rhoeas.                Flanders poppy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

ANZAC poppies, biscuits and clean fruit.

 This is the handmade Flanders ( ANZAC ) poppy I made.  Last time at P and Q,  M showed us how. I was doing something else that day and made mine later.
 It has 4 layers of different man made fabrics that get their edges curled when it is held near a candle.The leaf is green felt and the centre a button.
 This Friday  24th we have a an Anzac biscuit making contest at P and Q. ( not a sewing activity really ) Anzac is the following day 25th April and marks 100 years. I made a trial batch and they all got eaten so I repeated the same recipe yesterday ready for Friday. The latest news about ANZAC biscuits is they were probably not the rolled oats type biscuits but rather a plain ginger nut.  Mine has rolled oats.
I said I would show how I was managing to clean some of the biggest Kiwifruit that had slight sooty mould marks on them. They have to be held very gently so they don't come off in ones hand ( picking )  and are sprayed with a food grade CP clean liquid ( designed as a clean up spray just before picking time ) and brushed with a tooth brush or rubbed with a wet cloth glove.
 The slight black mark before.
 and after.
 It is important to look right around the fruit. It's no use cleaning one side if there is still a mark somewhere else on it, that would reject it.
Another example.
 There are still 100s of fruit needing this treatment but it takes time so I will just do the biggest and as many as I can between now and picking time which is probably only a couple of weeks away.
 Thank you all very much for your useful comments. Raewyn and Linda  linked me to several useful NZ wool supply sites. It was much appreciated.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


 We usually get interesting skies in the evening, but this was early morning. We did get some rain from it.
 One has to be quick as it didn't last long.

 We have been working hard on our kiwifruit crop. The latest thing I have been doing is using a toothbrush and squirty bottle of CP Clean ( an allowable cleanup product usually sprayed on just before picking )  to scrub off small spots of sooty mould or water stain on great big fruit....rather than pick them and drop them too the ground. It is so time consuming but feels better than the waste.
 I will take some before and after photos today to show what it does.
 The last 2 days have been exceptionally cold for this time of the year so I have ended up with almost numb hands after several hours working at this. ( other southern parts of the country have been having early snow ).
 At the weekend my patchwork friend D came for a visit with her husband who thinks this  is the only way to travel. He has owned and worked with bikes all his life. She is very brave in my opinion, but has been doing this most of her married life. ( not for me! )

 Lately I have been knitting most evenings.  I can knit and watch TV much easier than I can sew and watch TV. I knitted a small garment in Bamboo ( never used it before ) and did not like the feel of it while knitting or the end result. ( I won't be using it again )
 Much more to my liking was this soft fine warm thread. Zealana AIR , lace weight. it is 40% cashmere wool; 40% brushtail possum fur and 20% mulberry silk.
 I have now finished these wee booties and like them very much. What I wanted to mention about this really was I always knit both together. If it is sleeves or feet or any part or of a garment that needs to be exactly the same as a second part. Apparently not everyone does this???
That way the 2 part always turns out identical. No need to count rows or take notes .
 For a country that still has lots of sheep, Wool is now expensive and quite a lot is imported from Australia. ( most of our woollen mills have closed down ) I am going out of my way to source NZ fibres.
 Some I have found on line will be purchased that way . Really though I still like to see the colour and feel the thread in person.
If any of you have recently used any good fine wool based thread, that you loved working with I would be interested to hear please. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quilts & Poppies.

Today I have been into the city to my P & Q group. I hadn't been for a month missing last time being away in Taranaki. I took my blue bucket bag I finished a while ago for "Show and Tell." Here are some other items members had finished.
 This small quilt was made by 6 ladies and put together by R to make a lovely lap quilt.
 C was sewing a hanging sleeve on this large colourful quilt she completed.
She had also finished this work basket. It has 2 lift up lids and compartments inside.

E made this ANZAC themed table centre in honour of her late brother.

 Many ladies took home kits ( in container below ) to make large wearable Flanders poppies in time for ANZC day on the 25th April. We all made donations to give to the local RSA.
 M had kindly prepared the kits for us and showed us how they are put together. The layers of satin , net  and organza  are held in the candle flames to slightly melt the edges of the fabrics and stop them from fraying. They  have a black button in the centre and some black fringed stuff for the stamens. The leaf behind is made from green felt. A brooch pin is sewn of glued to the back. If I get mine done I will show you a close up of it.
 For those of you who don't live in New Zealand or Australia it will be 100 years on the 25th of April since our combined forces ( Anzacs ) landed on the beach at Gallipoli.( WW 1 )
 In my NZ Gardener magazine which arrived yesterday there was a free packet of Flanders poppies seed ( papaver rhoeas ), that they want gardeners to plant on ANZAC day, to commemorate 100 years since the Anzacs landed at Gallipoli. 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
 Between the crosses row on row. ( John McCrae 1872 - 1918 )