Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Thrifty Way to Get Warm.

    After several quite warm ( read too warm if looking up towards the sky, while working with the kiwifruit vines  as I have been) last few days; this morning was dull and quite chilly. I didn't seem to be able to get warm. We have stopped having fires some time ago and I didn't want to resort to a heater; so; what to do? I went and put on a long warm winter wool jersey and socks and went into the kitchen and quickly made a batch of cheese scones. How did that help? Well as soon as they were cooked ( and smelling good ) I threw open the oven door and let the residue heat ( 200 degrees plus )flood out into the kitchen. The result was I did get warm and the scones were a bonus. ( most have gone into the freezer to pull out as needed.)
Yes, they are untidy shaped scones but they were  light and very tasty. I don't roll them out, just drop them in spoonful lots. For a while I couldn't make good scones but now seem to be able to by using some lemonade in the liquid mix.These had tasty cheddar and Parmesan cheese as well as some Cayenne pepper and a teaspoon of powdered mustard for bite.( best eaten warm)         Of course by afternoon it had warmed up to 20 degrees again and I was far too hot outside working.( some folk are never satisfied eh )
Here is the promise of apples I mentioned yesterday.
 I have managed to fit in 2 sessions of about 10 minutes quilting my wall hanging today. So far so good.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Presents;Day 2 and Fruit Trees.

Last week I got a present....not what most of you would expect ...but very much needed.... R went and bought me a new seat for my tractor. The old one was so badly cracked and falling apart I was uncomfortable driving on it.( Farmgirl and Chookyblue would understand that to keep me working I have to have the gear! )

 Day 2 of our class with Hazel Foot.
On day 2 of our class at the weekend  J was the first to put borders on her work.

R is busy working on her turquoise hangings which turned into 2 to go side by side.

J's theme was Japanese...she photocopied part of a panel she had ( the lady ), so she didn't have to cut up her panel!
Mine is coming along okay. Lots of quilting and embellishing still to do. This morning we had to go to the city so I rushed into Spotlight ( new in Tauranga )( my first visit since they opened ) and got a gold stamp pad some gold fabric paint and a few other bits.I am thinking a of using some feathers too.                                               ................................

Some blueberries are setting well this year - I hope to get lots.
Now this I am very excited about. The new plum tree has set quite a few fruit and so far it seems to be's first effort. Also the new apple tree is flowering at the moment so that is great. We will maybe let it have 4 or 6 fruit this time.
 I have been busy working, so not a lot of blogging time. I have decided watching World Cup Rugby finals is not good for my health. On Sunday I got to watch the netball between NZ and Oz and could happily watch that knowing we had won that by one point also. So maybe that's the way for future watching. Know the score first then relax and enjoy it!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

At Class on Day 1.

Just to get your are some of Hazel's quilts and wall hanging tossed on the seat at the front of the room. ( the ones we were supposed to be looking at are at the front. ) Today I was taking a class with Quilter Hazel Foot from Auckland.
There were lots of paints and pens and shiva sticks and stamps and stencils and pastels for us to play with.The uses for each were demonstrated, by Hazel.
This is one of hazel's sample wall hangings. We were aiming to make something along these lines. We had to take along photos or pictures to print onto tissue paper.
1.Iron the tissue paper.
2. sellotape your tissue to a page of A4 printer paper.
3. lay your photo or photos onto the printer glass (in the printer.)
4. print. ( the image will be slightly more blurred than normal.)
5.Iron some Vliesofix to a piece of plain light coloured  fabric or calico.
6. peel paper off Vliesofix.
7. lay your tissue image onto the exposed side of the fabric where you have just removed the backing paper.
8. iron till tissue adheres.
9. trim to size required and use as you would a picture printed on photo fabric paper.
 This is a much cheaper way of getting photos for a wall hanging.

 That is the easy part. Now audition fabrics you have to make a layout that is pleasing to the eye, remembering all the things teacher has just told us about balance and contrast and value and variety. ( here are mine above as I am trying and playing with ideas.) I then had to take all the parts off the green fabric so I could cut and sew. I have completed the top left hand part to my liking by home time. Once some parts are cut and sewn they are much more cohesive and I can see where I am headed. ( encouraging.)

I don't think I have seen a messier workplace.  But we all knew what we were doing ( sort of )
We were good at this part....having afternoon tea.......that's my chair ...the empty one. It was a lovely warm day to eat outside.   Day 2 tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wind, Grass and Going to Class.

Usually it is November when we get pesky wind that bashes my lovely Copper Beech tree when it is just resplendent in it's new red growth, but it is happening now. I guess it's only 10 days or so to November. It also damages the little new shoots on the Kiwifruit vines and leaves some swinging, never to be any good. See how big my favourite deciduous tree in the garden  has got...that is 33 years growth.
This is just one months growth on the patch of new hydroseeded grass / lawn.( Farm Girl and Chooky Blue that's quite good growth isn't it if it was pasture? ) I can see I need to crawl around on it and remove the weeds that are big enough to get a grip on.....I wonder if I will do that?
    All excuses aside I have a busy weekend coming up. I am going to a 2 days course with about 12 other ladies from our P and Q group. We have Hazel Foot from Auckland coming down to teach us....a method of making art quilts/ wall hangings. We have to take 3 or 4 photos or pictures that we are going to print on tissue paper????  We have to take suitable fabrics to use around the photos and embellishments etc. I have been getting everything on her list ready - I seem to have so much to lug.( I even changed my machine needle, and cleaned the machine! )
   All of that is not difficult....the hard part was deciding what photos to take....I have so many! ( The Inspiration part. )  I looked what the ladies in Whangarei used last year when they had this same course and almost all except one who used famous buildings, used flowers or seashells.
 I narrowed it down to 2 categories. Radish or mail boxes. The mail boxes won. I have some pics I took that I really like. Unfortunately I woke up about 3 am this morning with some extra good ideas about what to take to use as embellishments ...all to do with mail, string; stamps packages etc. That was good I suppose...but I then got to thinking about solutions to some other problems....needless to say I was tired when I got up this morning. I hope to sleep well tonight ( before the class ) but have a good rugby game to watch first which doesn't start till 8.30 pm.  Then of course there is the "other all important game," on Sunday night....Can the All Blacks do it?  Yes. Will the All Blacks Do it??????
      A little good news about Rena. They managed to pump 60 tonnes of oil off her during the night.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Keeping Square.

Thank you Meg for your letter. I thought you might be interested to know that although Percy Peacock doesn't live on our property much any more he greeted me at the mailbox this morning. He has a really huge tail this year and was quite chatty as far as birds go. His friend Polly was found in the vege garden just the other day and R had to give her a hurry up out of there with the spud gun ( all noise ). It always seems to make me jump more than the bird.

I don't think I said I am back doing kiwifruit stuff again now. ( boring! ) R is crushtipping the new growth -( to stop it growing passed where it is needed - instead of cutting it which promotes growth ) and I am cleaning up after the pruners..... taking off the used cut  clips which have sharp ends, the twists of old cane; dead pieces still hanging there. I am also beginning to bud thin. Where there are triples instead of one bud the 2 side buds need to be rubbed off - it is very delicate work and ladies' fingers are smaller and more useful. As they grow there will be heaps more bud thinning to do. Yesterday and today it keeps raining which means we are in and out trying to stay dry. So in between showers I have made some progress with the selvage blocks.
Here I have got my 12.5 " square  ruler over the top after adding more strips to ensure I keep my piece square. It will be trimmed when it is finished but needs to stay fairly square as I make it. I am glad I haven't used a backing fabric as it is heavy enough with all those seams and overlap of fabrics. I like the resulting interest all the words and coloured circles of the printer's pallet gives.
Some progress is being made getting the oil off Rena. We heard that some containers have been found floating off East Cape!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Selvages , Flowers and Books.

During the odd minutes I managed to grab I have now got some projects underway. Here I am sorting by colour my bag of saved selvages.
I started on the purple and mauves first. I am making them into 12.5 " squares that will later be cut. After reading how others had handled theirs I decided to try without a fabric backing. It seems to be working but requires lots of careful pinning and heaps of pressing. So far I like the " fabric " I have created. Some strips have quite a generous amount of fabric along with the selvage, others none at all, so I am interspersing the widths as well as the colours.
That is my machine sewing project underway. By hand I am appliqueing circles and working on the felt ball. My homework for this week is find all the things I am supposed to have for the class I am taking with Hazel Foot next weekend. Some I don't have so will have to source them ( more on that when it happens. )
 The hand sewing is coming on okay; still not sure I am going to be pleased with it...... maybe it's when I am sewing it........ while watching rugby...which last night was rather boring...... Those of you like Dale and Farmgirl and Ruth and Murray ( friends - no blog )will know what I mean. I would have been hugely disappointed if I had spent good money to see that! Hope tonights' game  is better. Go ABs!  ( something I learned in the last 24 hours is,  sausage rolls are messy things.....we never have them but as we had guests last night to watch the match I put on suitable nibbles - those were for half time and meant that not only did I vacuum before they came I had to do it today as well - they had plates too.( that means it will be 5 years till I make them again! )
 I have spent all afternoon in the garden mowing; weeding and pricking out my seedlings. Here are some bright spots.

Love in the Mist ( Nigella ) is out.

The 2 red Rubicon rhododendrons are flowering ( beside a very weedy shell path )

                                              These purple babianas took me by surprise.

                                           The day lilies are starting to bloom.

                              This looks like a big lilac but is a miniature. The fab smell is all Lilac. It is actually mauve not pink as it looks here.
 I forgot to mention I had finished reading Wild Swans. It was a long gruelling read, but I made myself finish it. If they could live it the least I could do was read it. I knew a little of the awful goings on in China but had no idea about the extent and deprivation and constant killing and needless waste and lying that was their lives.
 Since then I have been catching up on my magazines and am ready to read something light by way of contrast.
 I hope you have all done something you like this weekend - maybe not for the whole time but at least part of it. Cheers!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bay of Plenty Maritime Environmental Disaster.

It's about 10 days now since the Rena grounded on Astrolabe Reef. Things hang in the balance...particularly the containers on her decks. The BOP is being challenged perhaps as never before. There is a lot at stake. The beautiful environment. The sea life and birds. The livelihood of many many people. I haven't any photos of my own to show but if you look on  there are many awful pictures of what is unfolding here in the Bay. ( Rena in focus ) Click on the link Motiti quiet Disaster to see how bad it is for those folk isolated off the coast and closest ( 4 miles ) to the reef.
     It isn't the first time this reef has been hit by a vessel. Way back in 1830 Durville exploring the coast line found it in the same way and named it after his vessel L'Astrolabe. ( he wasn't travelling at 18 knots and he had no maps. )

That is very depressing, so a walk in my garden reminds me not everything is bad. My plants are calling, " Look at me. See how pretty I am after all that rain." They are. Many things have just come into flower in the last few days This rhododendron  ( Sierra Sunset ) is the ugliest grower with the prettiest flowers. Tomorrow I will show what else is in flower.
 Today is going to be a long haul. The rugby isn't starting till 9 pm ( which is lovely for you northern hemisphere viewers for a change ), so I am trying to pace myself( yeah right ) so I stay awake. R asked the neighbours over to watch so I will have to be on my best behaviour and not yell at the ref. Who is going to win? ( I think Wales might ). 

Friday, October 14, 2011


This was taken on Wednesday in the rain. So that is 3 weeks growth.The old grass is at the front ; the new grass is brighter green. It still needs to fill in the gaps a bit and is soft to walk on when I was taking leaves off it. We are pleased with the result. ( so would recommend hydoseeding for on a slope )
 I'm off to my P and Q group this morning so am hurrying.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


   My friend Nan gave me an article to read called "Looking Back at Needles,". It was written by Jean Surrey in a UK publication called Fabrications. It was pages long ( illustrated) and very interesting. I guess I tend to take needles for granted, but throughout history they have been much more prized, than now.
 Has anyone been to The Forge Needle Museum at Redditch?  
 I have another article I have kept from our local BOP Times in 2006. It was about old needle books that had been donated to our local Museum.
 Do any of you have old needles; needle books ; needle cases?
I have just one that is old. It is homemade. It was sent to my late Father in Law when he was station at Ohekea then overseas during the WW2. It was made for him by his elder sister. This is the cover. Inside it has a sticker from the packet the needles came out of( I suppose ).

It is the trade mark of John James & Sons - Redditch - Made in England.
The needles themselves are a bit rusty but mostly still there.
The big one on the right is interesting - it is obviously for threading . This is 70 years old. Has anyone else got any interesting old family treasures like this?
 While on the subject of needles this was sent to me by Laurie some years ago and shows with increased magnification how a needle that appears sharp to the naked eye is in fact rather blunted and dull. It serves as a good reminder to change my machine needle ( or hand sewing needles ) often.  Some ladies change  after each project is completed - I tend to forget unless I break a needle.

How sharp is your needle?
 Tomorrow I will show how the grass has grown and talk more about the MV Rena on the rocks off our coastline. No doubt some of you are seeing the latest awful footage on the TV or Computer News.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Not Getting Everything Done.

I think I know why I am not getting everything done. Could it be that there are too many exciting World Cup Rugby matches on TV ? ( yes it could ) Never mind just a few more weeks and it will be all over. Yesterday issue # 77 of the NZ Quilter arrived in the mail  - I haven't read a word of it yet( luckily it will keep ).
This is my old workbox that sits by my couch at the moment. I only started this ball last week and have it stuffed already. It's a bit like knitting for me. I have made so many ( this is ball 21 ) I can do it without thinking or to put it another way with one eye on the TV screen.
But one day last week when it was raining I did cut out some trial pieces for my next quilt. I won't show it till I am really sure that is what and how I am doing it.

Grass Report. The new patch is doing really well. A few weeds can be seen; not many; but I have walked on it to remove them and am constantly watching for anything foreign appearing. The rest of the lawn actually needs mowing so that may happen later today. It will be it's first Spring cut. Meanwhile I noticed all around the garden the hostas are appearing ( slug and snail war begins ).

This is the one with big leaves by the blue waterlily bowl. The spikes are impressive as they poke through the ground. The new piece of garden ( ex Agapanthus patch ) is slowly taking on colour. It is just too sparce at the moment. The individual plants are lovely and bright. Like these nemesias and the velvet red petunia.( which should spread to fill a much bigger area. )

Half an hour ago my dear elderly Aunt aged 88.5  rang up. We don't ring each other very often but when we do we have a lovely catch up. She too is an avid rugby watcher so was right up with the play so to speak, about that. She has always been my most special relly of that generation and is still so busy for her age. Her mind is sharp as still and that is wonderful.
It is a bright and beautiful day in BOP. We are all anxiously watching what will happen with the stranded tanker sitting off our coastline. Apparently cracks are appearing in the hull. They are desperately trying to contain the oil spill; but were totally unprepared for such a thing ;( many people including one around here thinks the shipping company may have done it on purpose to claim insurance....would anyone be so environmentally irresponsible as that ? )
 What else nasty can happen in BOP. As if the kiwifruit disease wasn't scary enough. Life certainly has it's ups and downs. Go the ABs!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Greener by the Day.

Thank you all for your comments. Yes, Isabelle we are indeed lucky to be SO pleased with our son's chosen partner. We love her and couldn't have found anyone better.  Molly we don't have to go over there again. When we went over there this year it was because they are coming back to NZ, leaving UK next month and making their way home  to  NZ by December.
  They are both Kiwis!  Pam I am not thinking that far ahead yet!

That's the exciting stuff to the more mundane. Every day the new grass is greener. ( the thunder, lightning and down pour on Monday night must have helped. )
 Here is how it looks from the kitchen window - the angle makes it greener.
Look for the line behind the clothes line to see where old meets new. And before you ask....yes, there are many , many pairs of gloves on the clothes line. I wash out the gloves I wear in the garden and orchard to get more wear out of them ( also note in this photo a new frame over my strawberries ( the other one rotted ). If you look really closely you can see my 2 cosseted tomato plants first in line along what will become a row of tomato plants. They have only been out of their pots and in the garden a couple of days. One is a golden peardrop the other a heirloom called Brandywine. The yellow one we grow every year the Brandywine is new to us but was recommended in the NZ Gardener as the tastiest someone had ever just had to try one. YES it is early to have tomato plants in the open But I was prepared to chance it. ( I didn't want to miss getting a plant of that new tom ). The row of peas is so slow!
My salad greens are coming on a treat. We ate a salad last night made totally from my herb garden, plus an avocado. I thinned these young radish - so sweet and young .  ( 3 sorts of lettuce , chives ).
Every 2 days I walk down and visit the new plum tree - encouraging it to set some fruit please. It has lots of flowers and buds so I am hopeful.    Yesterday I did blokes work. We laid a new pipeline down the great wall ( beside the driveway ) so tractors and machine can wash down more easily at the bottom of the a PSA prevention between orchards. It involved feeding the alkathene pipe under flax plants and rosemary bushes the whole way. I did the slowly; wait a minute  while I cut this bit out; be patient role, while R did the swearing getting impatient and using machines role. Hope the plants don't die after he hauled them back with the hussler. BUT we got the job done and it works brilliantly.

Having finished edging  these 3 spare blocks to make mats at the weekend I am now sewing together the parts of another of my felt baby balls. I have written up some ideas for next quilts BUT just can't quite get I want to do it this way? or that way?  Maybe a bit of trial and error is in order.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Early this morning R answered the phone. It was younger son J calling from Somerset in UK, ( above ), where they are staying for the weekend. He had  some very happy news. They were at their favourite garden ( one I blogged about on August 24th ) and they had just got engaged! Yippee. That is fabulous news.      Congratulations!
This lovely garden called Kilver Court. It is in Shepton Mallet, which is near Castle Cary where they ( and we in July ) stay with V's lovely Aunty R. That is so nice that they got engaged there so they can share it with her - she has looked after them both so well while they have lived in UK.

This lock up in the centre of Castle Cary is "The Tank."  Not used to lock drunks up in to dry out any more, but the central feature of this special little place. The news is  special for another reason. This general area is where R's  family came from in  1856.
 As we are having some big worries about another family member it is wonderful to have something to be pleased and very excited about. Well done your 2 - you have made your Mum very happy! ( it also gave me the chance to show you some more of my holiday photos )

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A Tinge of Pink, a Tinge of Green.

A tinge of pink on the Cherry blossom trees on the driveway will turn into a profusion of fluffy delight, over the next few days if the weather allows. ( I got naughty and picked some - the trees are huge now so it won't hurt.) I had to dodge the bees who were excited with the flowering. They have SO much to forage on at the moment - the rata and rosemary are literally crawling with bees. )
A tinge of green is the new grass. Look Nicky it's up! This is day 11 from sowing.

This is day 12 ( today ). It is noticeable from a distance but not when looking straight down on it. SO I lay on my front to get this moonscape effect. Watching grass grow!!!

There is also a little mauve around as this climbing pea on the trellis by the woodshed ( a rather ugly area ) comes into flower. For me this is a well remembered flower. My late Mum grew one on a white trellis in our country garden at Tutaenui, over 50 years ago.
Helen I forgot to tell you where you could find Village Fabrics.( it belongs to the couple that previously had Tautau Lodge. ) It is on State Highway 2( the main road between Tauranga and Katikati. ) From Tauranga you pass through Bethlehem, cross the Wairoa River bridge up a hill and there it is in the corner of the state highway and Clarke Road. The buildings used to be a packing shed but now it's called Village 7. It's worth a stop for sure. As well as the Quilt shop there is Cafe Paradiso; a garden ornament shop, an art and gift shop, an antiques shop, a garden pot shop and a tasty pantry shop.
Today is R's Birthday. He says he doesn't like them...but he is glad to get the books I bought him and the phone call from son in Somerset, etc.  He  just doesn't like the thought of getting old - Who does?  In his farm diary for today it said. World Vegetarian Day and International Day of the Older Person. Ha, that really upset him!

The front page of last evening's paper. Suddenly folk around here are realising what a big impact it will have on the area if PSA virus keeps spreading. To date a known 312 orchards have the virus. One in Waihi and one in Katikati, now. So it is on both sides of us now. Zespri International the Kiwifruit Marketer says it could cost the area NZ$100 million in overseas earnings next year. ( most of that from the BOP. )
What does the future hold?
                Have a lovely weekend everyone.