Sunday, July 30, 2006

Narcissus and Notebooks.

Signs of Spring are everywhere in the garden. Although I knew I would shorten their lives in the warmth of the house, I picked some Early Cheer and Paper Whites( Narcissus ) anyway. They look and smell marvelous on the coffee table in the lounge. ( I made that table runner in the photo. It is hand pieced and hand quilted. It was made from fabrics left over from my very first quilt a couple of years ago.) Unfortunately one of the blue fabrics has faded.
The other photos are of notebook covers( in various stages of completion) I am making for the sales table.They are easy to do and are turning out well. They are reversible and can have the notebook changed, when one gets full. I am just putting a small amount of quilting on them to hold the batting in place. Lovely fabric is the key I think.
More progress with the hand quilting on The Apple Quilt, while I watch TV, tonight.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Spicy Apple Loaves.

I've just been baking and the house is filled with the smell of spice. As we don't eat much of this sort of thing any more my baking days happen less often. This recipe is tasty and multi purpose. I make it in 2 loaf tins; that gives you one to cut and one to keep ( or freeze ).It can be used as a cake, a loaf or a dessert.

Spicy Apple Loaves.

2 cups dry cooked apple 1 cup of oil
2 cups sugar 2 tsps vanilla
2 tsps ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups flour 1 tsp baking soda
3 beaten eggs pinch of salt
Beat the eggs, add the oil and vanilla. In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients, add the sugar. Put in the cooked apple then gradually pour the liquids into the dry ingredient. Mix till just combined. Spoon into 2 loaf tins lined with baking paper ( or greased ). Bake in a moderate oven; 160 - 180 degrees centigrade; for about 50 minutes. ( check after 40 mins; test middle is cooked ) Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Thanks for the sales table suggestions. ( I still need more ideas ) Yes, we have made wheat ( not corn) bags. The moving with the door type stopper sounds like a good concept. Great to meet you Shelina - I went by your blog to visit. Will add you to my list of places to visit.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Packing kiwifruit.

Yesterday the packhouse started packing our kiwifruit crop. Since picking time it has been in covered picking bins in a coolstore at about 2 - 3 degrees centigrade. It is taken by forklift from the coolstore around to the bin tipping area where a big machine carefully tips it , bin after bin onto the beginning a long conveyor system. (They are round rollers moving it along.) At various points along the way it is graded either by a big photosensitive screen or by hand ( people ) as you can see in one photos. They are looking for defects; ( marks on the skin; nicks or cuts; deposits; wrong shape ;etc etc ) There are 32 separate categories of reject! From there they move along the conveyor and plop into separate cup things which later weigh the fruit to decide what size it is. The fruit are packed into about 8 different size categories. ( Jumbo, 25, 27, 30, 33, 36, 39,and 42 ) This tells you how many fruit in flat tray. 42 being the smaller fruit. The average size fruit is a 36 which weighs 100- 108 grams. Jumbos can be 150 grams.
You can see from one of the photos the packhouse is a very large building with many people working there. Graders ; packers; tray preparation; tray stackers, pallet strappers etc. Also the job I used to do at one time Quality Control. The fruit is packed into many different sizes and types of packaging from single layer trays that you see in a photo to great big free flow bins. Not every size gets exported to every country. You can see on the photo of the green tray ends some figures. This tells the fruit size; pack date and the growers personal #. Ours being 75791, so that is how you can trace the fruit back to which orchard it was grown in. Every fruit from New Zealand should have a Zespri sticker on it.They are put on automatically by the machine. ( sometimes ruthless sellers pull the stickers off and keep them and the Zespri trays, then fill them with inferior cheaper fruit from other countries.) There is not a lot we can do about that.
They haven't finished packing our fruit yet so we don't know for sure (yet) just how well our crop will have packed out. They will finish it on Monday. Maybe next time you buy Kiwis ( kiwifruit ) you might take a note of how it was presented ; what pack type was it in, did it have a grower number on it ? I'd love some fed back.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Dawn Chorus

More on Vireyas. This is my oldest one , Dawn Chorus. it has been in a big blue pot since 1988. This photo shows one of it's best flowerings. ( it has only 6 flowers out today ) It is now at the stage where it probably needs an even larger pot, although they do like constricted roots. It broke it's first pot by rolling off this spot and fell only about 4 inches but was so tightly packed it split the pot. I had it in a new pot the same day and it didn't even notice. I have grown many from cuttings of this particular one. ( Very hardy, but also easy) Just popped them in the ground or the edge of the pot and they took. Have managed that with one other variety as well. I'll show you some other ones when they flower.