Wednesday, July 11, 2018

At Our New Place

Hi,My blogging Friends
 We we have made our move and it was totally exhausting. I had little idea it was going to be so stressful, but after 40 years in one place I guess we had a lot of stuff to go through and probably came here with far too much of it ; we'll see
 The first photo is from the very bottom of our property  I am standing on the little jetty looking North
 The garden is 6152 square metres this is the flat bottom bit .There are 4 terraces one sloping the others more or less flat.

The 3rd sloping part is covered with fruit trees which I assure you are standing up I just had my camera upside down. I will go into the range of fruit trees in more detail when I am sure about them but there is plenty of citrus and 4 avocados ( yeah ! ) and a walnut - to make me feel at home here. There are also apples plums etc. 
 Yesterday we went shopping and got some of the things we need , like 4 doormats 2 more heaters as so far we have found it cold. We ordered a couple more pieces of furniture to house my good china and glass and some new dining chairs..
 We are also replacing the dishwasher as it does not dry and has only one option and leaves soap behind - so that has to go. There will be lots of other changes I expect. 
 If I never see another large cardboard carton that has to be emptied I'll be glad. The movers came back for the empty boxes today so that has freed up space .
 Lots more to tell as I explore..

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Moving Right Along.

Yesterday  morning we spent an hour at our lawyers signing documents. At 4.45pm we went unconditional on the ( only ) property we wanted to buy.
The lawyers were holding us up trying to straighten out   some minutiae. We could see we were going to miss our 5 pm deadline so were stressing to the max. We asked in writing  ( email ) for them to send the money across to the seller's lawyer. We know the sellers as yet have nowhere to go and we did not want to give them the chance to call the whole thing off.
 It was a huge relief just before 5 to hear the money arrived and we were now committed to guying the property. Phew!
 Our new place which we will shift to in the first few days of next month  is only 2 kilometres away from here. It has a very large garden with lots of fruit trees and a little jetty at the bottom of the last part of sloping lawn. As soon as we get there I will show you lots of photos.
 Meanwhile I have been packing smaller fiddly things. Grandson ( now 2 years 8 months old ) will feel reassured that ALL the wooden vehicles are moving with us. Along with all the other toys and books. I bought 6 large Sistema plastic tubs for my fabric stash. That was the first thing I packed.There is of course lots of equipment and books as well in my sewing cupboard.

 My lovely Daphne bush has decided to flower now so I get to see it and I have picked some for the kitchen window sill.

 It will of course be staying put as will the waterlily bowl beside it. It has a crack that would not let it be transported without destroying itself.
 I will miss my garden very much but can look forward to seeing what comes up in the new one and then making some changes there. I know we will be enlarging the vegetable patch ( but at least it has one established ).

 The carpet got finished!

 Meanwhile I have had a birthday ( 7th ) and a nasty throat and cough which lasted 2 weeks went away then the cough came back and is still with me.
 Today R had a medical appointment so I went along and walked in the sunshine. Good thinking as it is now raining. I am sure 45 minutes Vit D must have helped. I am consuming  Vit C at an excessive rate and trying to get plenty of rest.....that part not working quite so well. Stress may have something to do with it too.
 Never mind things are moving along now and we are looking forward to our retirement.
 ( Will I still want to call this blog, The Quilting Orchardist? )

Monday, June 04, 2018

Finishing Well.

Finally, finally the kiwifruit picking happened last Thursday and Friday in fabulous fine weather - so lucky! Since then BOP has had appalling weather.
 A picker emptying his load into the bin. There were 2 ladies in the gang of 22 .
 They were a happy lot on the whole and worked very hard to make the most of the fine days. They have been having lots of down time this season because of the many, many rainy days.

 We had 4 tractors ;each tractor pulls a trailer that holds 3 bins. All our tractor drivers were older chaps one was 83! He did so well.
 Rob doing some adding up as they go.... Tallies must be accurate.
 The drivers levelling out the top of a full bin.

 The bin trailer gets tilted and the bins slide off as the tractor moves forward.
 The truckie talking to the forklift driver who stacks 3 bins high and lifts them into the truck.( 30 or 32 to a truck ) 

 We were happy with the bin tally. There was some sooty mould we knew that would show up but the fruit is big and the final dry matter test came out very high so that means the fruit will taste good.

 For us this is huge! This was the 36th Export crop of kiwifruit we have grown. We have lived here 40 years and planted it all when we arrived here. So our FINAL crop. we have sold the orchard. It becomes unconditional in 2 days time. The new young owners have been here watching and learning while  picking happened. They are very keen.

 Strangely the selling didn't prove to be the hard part as we thought....finding a new place to buy is far harder. There is one we really like but are not sure if our offer will be enough. I do so hope so cause we can find much else that suits our needs ( must have a workshop / shed and a sizeable garden for fruit and veges. ) that's the hard part there are lots of lovely houses with tiny sections.

 Other things. The carpet layer STILL hasn't come back to finish the part around the fireplace! 
 The new grass seed / lawn is looking fabulous . It's such a bright green colour.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Where Things are at Currently.

Thanks for your encouraging comments Julie ;Chooky; Linda; Loulee; Dianne and Janice, You gave me a little boost when I needed it.
 The Luculia tree is looking magnificent today. Although it is dropping leaves on the newly sprouted grass just below.
 #2  son made a creditable start to sorting out his stuff when down here at the weekend!
 Tuesday was the day we were to get new carpet laid in the lounge and office. Tuesday was also the day when we got 68mls of rain in quite a short time. In order to move the furniture we had to find places inside the house . The van bringing the new and taking away the old carpet was able to back into the carport and keep mostly dry.
 Luckily the dining room is tiles so the couches could be stacked on top of each other.
 Moving all the stuff in the office required some sorting and throwing by me the day before, so that all stands in good stead for if we move soon. We are pleased with the new carpet although it stinks of some sort of treatment so leaving the doors open when we can. I hope the smell goes soon.

 Selling. We have had quite a few people through and today for the first time a couple gave us their second offer in writing. We reduced the price a  little  and they came up a little.  So it may be looking quite promising.
 It is time consuming and exhausting mentally so last night I didn't sleep well ( but that's nothing new ).

 On the kiwifruit front Eurofins came in early today and took fruit samples to test so picking is not far away now. ( A silly time to be trying to sell but at least prospective buyers get to see this crop on the vines .)
 Absolutely no sewing but a little knitting; lots of cleaning, deciding, sorting and some boxing of books and glassware etc.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Progress on Some Fronts......

Progress on some fronts but not others.
 This front...the front of the little jersey I showed back  on the 7th of March. The back is done and I made steady progress on Friday when I took knitting to P and Q instead of sewing. Strangely so did several other ladies. 3 at our table all talking knitting. I think the weather had something to do with it.
 I note that I often write something in here when it is pouring with rain...I guess I am inside with more time to spare.
I am quite pleased with how this is knitting up . This shows the range of colour. I got several favourable comments and friends fondling the wool and saying, "  that's lovely and soft." ( that's how hand knitting has to be in my opinion.)

 My sewing machine has been back inside it's trolley bag  in the cupboard as I have been trying to keep the house neat . We are officially "for sale ," since the beginning of this month and as we are not having open homes I have to be prepared to allow the agent to bring viewers at short notice. ( 5 or 6 so far ) The most common comment is, " it looks like too much hard work!"
 Anyway at the moment we are sticking to our asking price. ( others have said to me when selling you can always come down but can't put the price up. I think that is sensible advice .)
 I guess after a while it has to be reconsidered.
 Almost every cupboard and drawer in the house has been cleaned and the decision,  keep or get rid of, made by me.
A lot of paper work has gone to recycling...far too much to put through our shredder.
Lots of books went to the last Book Fair but there are still lots here.
 Things belonging  to grown up sons are still in cupboards or the container. # 1 son said get rid of any clothes, they will be the wrong size for me now. Other items he wants held on to. # 2 son has yet to give me advice on what he wants done with his things.....
  I am finding it quite stressful so is R perhaps more than me. Looking on line for possible properties to buy is very time consuming. Often the ones I like have just sold. There is one exception and we can't work out why it hasn't been snapped up....possibly for the same reason we have been hearing...too much work....maybe that property is waiting for us  ????

 Something completely different Now. Does it annoy you when you donate to a charity or cause then they spend huge amounts sending you paper work and more begging letters and supposed free gifts...which wasn't what you gave the money for ??? ( I got one recently with 9 separate items in the envelope ) 
 Also new charities which I do not give to have suddenly acquired my address to send me  letters . On the principle  that they have paid for that address list I will not acknowledge their requests. Am I turning into a grumpy old person? Some of the same charities also use email to further press their cause.

There is not much left to pick in the garden now. Some butternut, egg plants, silver beet, spinach, late capsicum and the last of the beetroot.
 White butterfly caterpillars are enjoying eating my brassica seedlings. I am spending time killing them when they are large enough for me to see.
 R planted  broadbeans ( with red seeds! ) and  I planted 6" high plants. They are all doing well...I think we ( or someone else ) will get lots of enjoyment out of them later in the year.
Other recently planted seedlings are getting pummelled into the dirt.
 The fire is going and its wonderfully warm inside the house. I think I'll just stay in today.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Feijoas are Yummy!

 It's time to pick up and start eating feijoas.
 Well around here it is anyway. You either like or hate them.
( They have varied and intriguing patterns inside ) 
That bowl full was yesterday collection. So they don't remain on the ground too long ( especially if you have birds that like them ) I need to pick up every 2nd day. Our few trees have a good crop so we will have plenty to share with family.
 They can be cooked but only if you have a real  over supply. Best eaten just cut in half and scooped out with a spoon.
 Other countries where they call them different names ( pineapple Guavas - Australia ) they don't seem as popular or to do so well as here. We are lucky in Northern  NZ.
 I will eat my share and maybe more.
Heavy rain forced me to pick these dahlias up out of the dirt and rinse the blooms clean. They have recovered now and look vibrant on the kitchen bench.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Yesterday I did my second walnut collection for this season. We are lucky to have a very prolific huge walnut tree.
 It is at the top of an incline so is well drained. I think it is a Wilson's Wonder  and is now 30 something years old.
 Nuts at various stages or readiness.

While growing and maturing the nuts are enveloped in an outer green skin.When ready they split the skin as shown in the top picture and the nut falls to the ground or if low down I pick it straight off the tree and take off the green shell. ( wear gloves as the juice stains. )
 The less time they spend lying on the grass the better.
I then bring them home and spread them out on an old sheet on the cobblestones in the sun. I do this every day for a week or more.
 We then both either shell them or store them in sacks  till we have time to do that .
 Once shelled and very carefully quality controlled we store them in the freezer. This way they do not go rancid. ALMOST all walnuts for sale are rancid which gives them a bitter yukky taste.( people think that's how they are meant to taste and it's not )  I will have to do many more pick ups over the coming weeks.
 This year I will be coveting my collection as we are getting ready to put our property on the market............ and this may be the last crop of nuts that are mine to collect.

 We are waiting for a contractor to come and reseed a slope of lawn up to the garden shed. Beside it is the nerine and orchid bed. I tidied it up and made a defined edge to seed up to.

Red  Nerines do exceedingly well in my garden.( pink and white ones less so )  I have them in several spots and the flowering time varies accordingly. The flowers are good in a vase. Their bulbs sit up atop the soil and like to be sun baked. The clumps build up and up. I have potted some up as I don't want to be without them.
 I wont be able to take my walnut tree or my copper beech tree both almost 40 years old, if we move to a smaller property but I can take a few garden favourites like bulbs.
 It is a hard thing we have to do...we have lived here 40 years.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018


Autumn means it is going to get cooler in the coming months. ( though you wouldn't think so the last few hot days. ) Today it's pouring down.
 I already had this wool, a lovely marled 4ply , to knit another jersey for Grandson. I'm using a tried and trusted pattern. It's strange how the wool always looks more interesting in the ball than when it's knitted.

 I am pretty much back to doing everything except Kiwifruit work.( Just keeping my arm plastered as per instructions and making sure I don't bump it. ) ( getting it wet is ok now .)  
  The garden got a growth spurt of weeds with me out of action for a couple of weeks. I've been trying to do a couple of hours weeding out of the sun each of the last few days. Mainly in the vege garden where produce is still growing.
 Some time ago I posted photos of Grandson helping with the planting of these gladioli. It was very late in the season to be putting them in. They have come up well but show no sign of forming flower buds. They are possibly too shaded, so I cut back the over hanging Luculia tree, put in more stakes to tie them up gave them another round of blood and bone and some sheep pellets and a thin covering of potting mix. I cant think what else to do to encourage flowering. Maybe some more worm pee. I scattered in a packet of Thumbelina Mixed Zinnias around their feet that might still have time to grow.
With the down pour we are getting today everything will be watered so that's one less job. I do however have to venture out to pick courgettes and beans and cucumbers.
 The passion fruit are finished now and were a big fruit the birds did not attack.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Great Progress.

Great progress with my healing. Thanks for your encouraging comments Mary; Chooky ;Kiwi kid, Suzy; Rose Marie and Dianne, they gave me a boost.
 I got rid of the sling last Friday and yesterday was my final visit. All stitches, 18 from the graft and 8 from the incision were all speedily if a little ouchily  removed.
 I came away with a roll of Micropore tape to keep reapplying myself and that's it! I healed up like a youngster...liked that comment.
 The new graft is under this. I am keeping a stretch knit tube piece over the top but my wrist is so skinny it is only acting to keep the tape clean.
 I really enjoyed being able to get it wet in the shower. Of course I am going to continue to take very good care of it in the weeks to come.
 Even better the Path Lab  Synoptic report came back with the diagnosis  benign  Keratoacanthoma.  ( excision complete )
 I have googled that and seen photos of many of these growths and realise mine was in a unobtrusive place. Many folk have had them on facial sites - not so good.

 Any way I am getting back to all normal activities and haven't missed my time amongst the vines. The garden however is looking a bit untidy.
Untidy doesn't stop the Autumn bulbs ( red nerines ) from flowering. They are early this year. Our temps have dropped dramatically -  Autumn I guess.

 Over the weekend the young ones were here. Grandson loves playing Poohsticks in the creek. The game of Poohsticks originated ( well calling it that anyway ) in A.A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner. ( 90+ year ago in Hartfordshire  ) 
 On this occasion we didn't worry about playing it on the bridge we just dropped sticks into the little creek.
 Most floated, some got stuck on rocks and long grass, others wobbled on down the little rapids. No worry about him falling in here and we could stand in the shade. Sunday was sunny.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Trying to be( a ) Patient.

Thanks for the words of encouragement.
 Some things I can do left handed but many things I can't. Quite a lot of things need both hands.
 I can sew machine zigzag okay cause there is no precision needed and I cut the towel up earlier last week. I am making baby wipes.
 When I came home after surgery last Wednesday this is how I looked.
 I had an ugly  fast growing growth  ( possibly squamous cell carcinoma  ) ( result not back from path lab yet ) on my
right arm just above where the wrist bends. It grew in size while I kept getting referred to someone else then someone else......

 If you are squeamish stop reading / looking right now.

 Today I have been back to have it redressed and it's doing well.
 To make sure it was all removed a cm all round of clear skin had to be taken away.
 A full depth graft was taken from under my upper right arm....very good stretchy skin........ first use I have had for that sagging flesh!

  When the nurse had it exposed she was taking a photo of its progress so I asked to take one with my phone.
 This is what it looks like.
 An insect with too many legs?  

My upper arm just has a thin plaster across the stitches now and it has a lovely bruise running from the bottom of it. Stitches still in.

 I asked today if it was alright to type and write for a short while - yes. When the sling gets too sweaty ( most of the time ) rest your arm against your upper body if sitting down. and at night put a pillow under it.
 Definitely don't get it wet, don't chop or twist your wrist or lift anything heavier than a cup. Don't go near the orchard or garden ! 
 It will all take a while to heal and be very vulnerable to bumps so stay away from crowds.
 I will try and obey orders and be a good patient....I don't want the graft to fail or have to be redone.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Rain, Rain.....

 Rain. Rain. Rain. These Asters were just beginning to flower and look quite bright and breezy...that was before the rain started. They don't look nearly so good mud splattered and with drooping heads.  Picking veges in the rain isn't much fun either.   Oh well.
 Yesterday I did a little stitch work. Yes, you read that right. I stitched! It was so long since I had worked on this Walkway wall hanging I had to start another lot of notes for myself about thread colour ; stitch length etc. At the moment I am thread painting. ( sort of ) securing all the rushes and bushes that have fine pointy edges.
 I will do some more today.
 On Friday we had our first P and Q meeting for the year. There because I didn't want to lug my machine I started putting together felt ball # 27. I could see to do that inside on another wet dull light day.

 From this coming Wednesday I may have to become left handed for a while. I have been trying to think ahead and complete  many jobs  that require right handed skills, or both hands .
 I will let you know how I go and what I am having done after that time - if I can type. Surely I can do that left handed...we shall see. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Fun with Family.

A warm windy Waitangi Day here in NZ. I hope yours is going well!

 Over the last few days Grandson and his parents have been staying. He loves helping with jobs especially garden tasks...particularly with picking veges or fruit. Spotting them is a speciality.
 Beans are just the right height.
Deciding which of 4 watermelons to pick, ...and are they ready. No second chances with cutting a melon.
 As luck would have it it was perfect.
Juicy and delicious.
 Small yellow tomatoes were easy for him. His dad decided to get creative before taking a pic of how many we got.

 Making his own pleasing arrangement by slicing a banana onto his toast with almond butter.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Very Hot in NZ.

January has flown by. It's been very hot. ( not usually our hottest month ) Some other places in NZ have been experiencing record high temps. Its about to turn stormy with very high tides. ( maybe some inside time  if it rains too) 

I have only sat and stitched about twice this month which means little progress has been made.
2 of the 5 fish hexagons that I have been hand blanket stitching ( the 2 on the left ) are done . The fish motif has been fused on first.

 The orchard has been needing lots of work - thinning the kiwifruit. It is hot and humid but at least in the shade.  We have a big problem with Passion vine hoppers which is going to spoil and reject lots of kiwifruit especially around the edges of the blocks.  They love the heat. We are not allowed to spray with anything that really kills them. We are trialling some new products next week which we hope will halt their progress and further generations of them.

 We have been flat out trying to keep up with processing all the vegetables that are ready.
 This morning I made courgette soup which tasted quite good. I froze most of it. ( some days there have been 10 ready at once )
 I have been cooking beetroot. The sweet corn is all finished now but was tasty while it was young and fresh.
 I steamed this first Kamo kamo and put butter on it. Someone a while ago said they didn't know what one was so here is a pic to show the size  next to my secateurs. Its a member of the pumpkin family.

 I found this little preying mantis. It had changed colour which is unusual. Ours are just green normally.

 The gladioli we planted ( late ) are growing. 24 out of 30 so far.

 The fruit on the  2 new passionfruit are starting to ripen so that should be yummy.

 I have also been cleaning our cupboards and finishing or throwing stuff away. Making room which is good.  Even in the food cupboards.  I need to do my sewing cupboard next! My quilting mojo might be hiding in there.  It's certainly missing.

Most days I fit in some weeding of the flower garden, when its cool. The places in the shade are weeded most frequently.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Historical Fiction.

 Jenny Pattrick's latest book was a satisfying light read for me, as have her previous books been.
 Set in NZ in 1907/8 the joining of  the main trunk  railway line and the building of the Makatote viaduct is all factually correct ( Jenny does great research ) .
 Rose from her very first novel, The Denniston Rose appears as an older person in this book.
 I would recommend her books if you have not already found them. See her website 
 If you are familiar with the Main Trunk Line you will know what amazing engineering and impressive use of manpower took place building it and particularly the ingenious Raurimu Spiral. 
 This book should be available at your NZ library or Paper Plus stores.
 ( I hope she writes some more. ) 

 I showed the pic of the smaller lot in the last blog. They ripened up nicely after about 24 hours on the window sill and are sweet and tasty. Great for my breakfast. This is the best they have ever produced so I'll keep feeding them b and b and compost and lots of water.

 At the moment we are eating from our garden. I love making fritters so courgettes are great in them. We currently have tomatoes ( 6 varieties ) courgettes,  silver beet , spinach, corn cobs, beans, potatoes, spring onions, beetroot  and  cucumbers .