Sunday, December 30, 2007

Macadamia Nuts.

One of the jobs we fitted into yesterday schedule was picking Macadamia Nuts ( Beaumont variety mainly ) from some of our 10 trees. The trees are 25 years old and are planted near our top boundary fence. Most have a good crop of nuts which we had been forgetting to go and pick and DH saw 2 rats running away with nuts, so we thought we better get there and pick our share. You can leave them till they drop but by picking them we know they are fresh and will keep. They hang in bunches and easily come away from the branch. ( next year's tiny nuts are already there too )

We collected a full sack in less then an hour. Now they are drying in the sun on my trolley and a blanket. As they dry they split exposing the nut. All these outer husks then have to be removed , then further drying before cracking. We have a special cracker but it is still time consuming work - lucky they are so yummy. If you have only ever tasted them coated in chocolate ( YUK ) you have not really tasted them. We lightly roast them to bring out the flavour and add just a hint of salt. They are also good for crumbing and putting in baking. AND they are good for us!

On Christmas afternoon I started a scrap quilt project.( loosely based on my hearts quilt from last April).( I have a system where I save my usable scraps then have a cutting session. I iron the fabric and cut the" best use of," squares or strips from them. These are then put into containers for each different size. That way when I want a quick project some of the cutting is already done.)

I decided to limit the pallet to greens, purples and mauve with some small pattern and lights.The photo shows the stages.
Starting at Left top is a pile of finished squares.
1. ( TOP MIDDLE )On the base square ( in this case 3.5 inches - could be any size you like ), a free hand circle is then cut from a smaller contrasting fabric.( 2.5 ") and sewn on top. Raw edge. ( start sewing at the top - this gets hidden in the seam later and overlap where you finish sewing )
2.Turn this over and carefully pinch up the fabric and cut a circle away from the back being careful not to cut both. ( like taking the back away from applique )
3.( bottom left )This new salvaged circle is then used as the centre or 2nd circle on another square. This way the fabrics get mixed up for a scrappy look.[ so you have a square base with 2 circles sewn on top]
4.( bottom middle ) The squares are now cut exactly in half.
5. These halves are then mixed and resewn, 1/4 " seam, with a new partner...further mixing up the fabrics.
After that these now rectangular pieces are put in rows to form a quilt top - I haven't got that far get as I don't know how big it is going to be. With washing the raw edges start to fluff like chenille. Using these small sizes I am able to use up lots of 3.5 and 2.5 inch squares.
(Click on to enlarge photos )

Monday, December 24, 2007

Season's Greeting!

To All My Blog Friends, Best Wishes at Christmas. I have enjoyed your company this year!

Old and new forms of greeting.
One a wonder of the internet the other very old. Both expressing and conveying friend's Greetings.

The photo is of some very, very old unused Christmas cards. The 2 smaller ones on the right are of English origin judging by the pictures on them. The other 4 depict Birds of New Zealand.

(top left ) NZ Pigeon, (top right ) the Shining Cuckoo, ( bottom left )Takahe and ( bottom right ) 3 types of Parakeet.

The cards are very ornate with scalloped gold paper edging and shiny cord tassle. They have very flowery ( by today's standards ) messages inside. The are old treasures and the person who bought them originally must have considered them too good to send or write in.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

40 Years.

This is a real shoe, off a pony. It was chromed and given to me 40 years ago today, by Denise. She was the young daughter of the family I boarded with for 2 years when I was a young teacher in South Taranaki.
At 12 noon on a sunny day on the 23 rd of December 1967 DH and I were married at St. Andrews Church in Marton. He a young farmer, me a young teacher.
Why get married at such a weird time of year?
Well, It suited us. New Zealand shut for the weekend in those days! I didn't finish school till 2.30 pm on the Thursday afternoon of the 21st December. That gave me the rest of that day to drive home ( about 2 plus hours ) and the next day to get organised. We only had the school holidays till I needed to be back working and DH had to go into Military Annual Camp in the Army at Waiouru in the middle of January. He had been drawn in a ballot to do Military Service and every year had to attend an Annual camp . So we decided the best use of our time was to get married before Christmas, go on Honeymoon for a couple of weeks come back and I'd get everything sorted in our new home while he went off to camp. Strangely just about everyone we invited turned up so it can't have been that inconvenient. DH's younger brother was doing VSA work in Thailand and he didn't get there but everyone else we wanted to be there, was.
Our wedding was quite low key....we didn't want a big fuss.......My only elder sister had made a big drama of her Wedding and I knew that was her way of doing things - not mine. ( I knew exactly what I wanted, didn't change my mind or have any tantrums ).We didn't get Studio photos taken so just had some taken in the local park ( no I'm not sharing those ), but I have kept a few mementos like my lucky horseshoe; the guest list; and I still have my wedding gown and can still fit into it! I haven't stored it so well and some of the guipure lace on the train has discoloured. ( I still like the elegant design - nothing frilly for this girl .)
We had a party with friends on our 35th Anni but can't really afford that this time so we are going out to lunch shortly; just the 2 of us. We decided to have the day off !
I think that is a Ruby Anniversary....but I'm not expecting any ( ha ha ). Many of you reading this have already got to this milestone. I think in those days you were expected to get married, far more than today, and many of my friends from that same generation are still married. I wonder how many more we can clock up?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lovely Things.

Cards sent from friends and a lovely vase of Pohutukawa ( New Zealand Christmas Tree ) on the fire, are the only signs of Christmas approaching around here.
Today is wet so I got much needed catch up time; GST return done and bills paid, food shopping done ; lovely fresh veges picked ( peas, beans and courgettes - yum )and now time to blog.

I think some good luck has been granted me. Last Friday at the final lunch for my P & Q group I won the lucky number - the prize was a wee bear sitting in a coffee mug.( photo ). Yesterday the mailman bought me a package.DH gave me a funny look ( cause we had agreed not to spend money on ourselves at the moment ) and said " Did you order this book?"
"No I didn't! I think I might have won it !" Sure enough I had.
It had a letter telling me of my win. ( I only had to put my name on the back of an envelope !)
Kiwis have already had the opportunity to see the TV series Hunger for the Wild ( this book is based on it ). If it comes to others overseas I am sure you would love the New Zealand scenery and food content so do watch if you get the chance.

So aren't I the lucky one. It's a lovely book - smells nice, has recipes, story and great photos.

As it is hot here at Christmas time I think it is lovely to try and make decorations,have food and gatherings that suit the climate. Outdoors when possible. Snow doesn't feature so why should we pretend it does. I may still go and cut a Christmas tree from the shelter belts on the orchard, but am so far happy with our lovely Pohutukawas flowering all around the property.

I just have to mention last Monday. We both spent all day at a First Aid Course, doing CPR on dummies ( on a not so clean concrete floor ! ),applying bandages etc etc. We have to do it ( at $80 each ) as a requirement for Globalgap - which is what we get audited on to be allowed to Export Kiwifruit. ( things have got a little crazy), but apparently you customers in Europe and other countries demand it of us...... I bet you don't!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Handmade Gifts.

When it was wet at the weekend I had time to cut out the parts for a purple bag for a gift. I have worked on it every night since to get it done and am pleased with the colours . It is gift for someone who wears lots of purple so I hope she likes never know with younger folk though.
The table mats are being my hand work at the moment. Then I will quilt them with a large star pattern.
It is fine again now with low cloud and working in the Kiwifruit is a bit like working in a sauna today. The little fruit are growing rapidly so I am on my first round of fruit thinning; taken off the mis-shapen or too small.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Perfume Fills the Air.

There is a competition going on in my garden to see which plant smells the best. Close to the house are 2 unusual Philadelphus , one climbing ( Philadelphus Mexicana ) and one miniature. Do they smell sweeter than the Port Wine Magnolia...I think so.
Down the driveway where you walked with me in Spring flowers are now of a paler colour, lots seem to be pale pink; 2 big bushes of Apple Blossom Flower Carpet Rose , a tiny late Azalea then a splash of brilliance from the day lily in the photo. Also my 10 year old Kalmia latifolia - Ostbo Red. My love of Kalmia comes from my childhood; my Mum and my Nana both had them in their gardens, the paler coloured one. The buds are surely made of icing from the star nozzle of a cake icing set! ( click on photos to enlarge )
37 mls of rain was just what we needed.The plants are all very thankful. The wee fruit are almost growing in size before our eyes. That's good! Of course that will mean more grass to cut and of course a new crop of weeds but that's the trade off.
Thanks to those who gave me feed back on our "For Sale," on the web site. Not a single buyer yet...partly it could be the wrong time of the year; everyone's too busy.
The rain gave me some catch up time; I cut out some more table mats to hand sew. We are going to friends at the Mt. for dinner tonight so that makes my heart glad, it will be fun! I just picked a big bunch of Charles Austin roses ( apricot colour ) for my friend Liz. She lives by the sea and has no roses in their tiny garden.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Completed Tasks.

Such a hectic fortnight! Ah, we get a weekend to catch up on all the normal tasks.
Photos are some of the things that got completed.
The bag is very quick and is just 2 identical linings of the Bucket bag. I cut 8 rectangles slightly larger than the normal bag and sewed as for the normal lining; only I made 2. ( if you don't know what I mean go back to where I made the quilted Bucket bag). When it is turned through at the end I didn't top stitch it, just ironed it and so it it reversible. I used all the same fabric but it could be done with different fabrics then reversing it would give a different look. Great for shopping or books or keeping folded inside another bag for times when you need more carrying space.Very washable too.
Kiwifruit pollination is almost complete. The young fellow in the photo is applying male pollen using a leaf blower. You can see the canister of pollen sitting on top obscuring his face. Twice we had gangs come through using this method. They very quickly walked along swinging the blowers from side to side blasting pollen into the air. If you are a follower of this blog you may recall a different ( and more expensive ) method was used last year. This was in both cases supplementary to the 15 bee hives - the inhabitants of which have been quietly humming around for the last 2 weeks. When the pollen is blown into the air they get extremely active , so working in the vines is a little precarious, but we know to look carefully and mainly the bees look out for us...if we get a hand to close they just fly off. The fruit set is looking very even and a good number.

The Avocado picking was completed by Thursday afternoon. 48 bins in total. The small fruit was left on the trees and may get picked late Jan or Feb if prices make it worthwhile.....they will have sized up by then. The trees already have next years crop pollinated and are still smaller than a pea. This morning I went through the containers of reject fruit I had put aside when levelling the bins and sorted them into bags to give away. I expect friends and neighbors to come and collect them if they want them, but it is surprising to me that some folk still expect us to deliver. This tough ol girl does not do that any more. DH still delivers to neighbors, cause he likes an excuse to talk. And no before any body asks the freight to send them ANYWHERE is TOO much. These are rejects only.

On Friday lunch time we had a party of English Teachers visiting from Singapore come with a Zespri Rep we know, to look around an orchard. DH showed them around and I met and talked to some when they finished. They were a friendly bright lot with excellent English. Percy Peacock, made an impression on them and featured in some of their photos. Very pleasant young visitors to have .

So far with the property being on the market we have had NIL lookers actually physically here but lots looking on line. It is not the right time to be selling and properties are just not moving they tell us. We are prepared to wait and know we are not ready to reduce the price. Our plan A is to ride it out. If in 6 months nothing has happened Plan B is too look at other options.....sub dividing....or pulling out all the avos and kiwis. I don't think that last plan is ethically sound I really don't, but maybe if we get that poor I might change my mind.

If you wish to look on line go to and then either put in ID # 167723 or got to the map and pick out BOP; then Tauranga; then Te Puna on the drop downs and look for a property with that ID #.

I'll be interested to know if you manage to find it , some overseas friends have been able to, including younger son in London who found it and the 35 photos quite interesting.

Another completed task was reading " Louise Nicholas - My Story" by P Kitchen and Louise Nicholas. Kiwis will know what that was about and although I knew all about it before I read the book it was still worthwhile but infuriating to know that all that went on here in the BOP in our country and that one of the blokes involved has just retired and gets a huge golden handshake. Justice was certainly not seen to be done! I think 3 of the others are still in prison for other crimes.

My next read just started is has been on our bookshelf for years and I had never read it...all 1275 pages of it. "Alaska," by James A Michener. I have read most of his other books so should enjoy it and I know I will learn heaps from it. It just might take me a while.
On Friday night we had some much needed rain....kind of it to hold off till all the picking and pollination was done.( warm was good for that! ) .......but lawns are browning and dust is rising so hope we get more. Our new potatoes are just yummy and I am getting quite a few strawberries, The peas are flowering so I guess its Summer! Still lots to do here but we are enjoying being able to decide how to spend our time this weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still Avocado Picking.

DH and I completed the picking from the ground after 2 days but the 2 guys in the hydraladas ( cherry pickers/ elevated platforms ) are still working. They may get finished today , but we'll see. Today is a kinder day for them .... a little cooler with some cloud cover. Sunday was our hottest day for ages; 29 degrees C in the shade; pretty hot whatever you were doing! Some of the time the guys can sort of hide in the shade inside the trees but not all the time so they need lots of sunblock! ( hats get knocked off easily and caught upon twigs )The 3 photos show the hydralada extended to reach up the trees and the next 2 show how the big bag in front of the operator that he fills with fruit is then lowered down over the bin, the bottom folds down on a chord and the fruit slide down into the bin. The chord is then hocked up again folding the bag bottom up and is ready to fill again. It takes 3 of these bags to fill a fruit bin. ( click on photos to see more clearly ) ( the men are getting paid NZ$40 an hour and the hire of the hydraladas is about the same. They are working 9.5 or 10 hour it's a well paid job! )
Since we finished our ground picking we have gone back to working in the kiwifruit and DH goes across to the avo blocks with the tractor and bin fork about 4 times during the day and brings the filled bins back to the shed by the house where I smooth them out and pull out any rejects or top them up to completely full, from a bin of spares.
So far we have picked 36 bins and may get another 8 - 10 today so that will be our 2nd biggest crop ever. I wonder if we will actually make some money from them ( I will keep you informed on that )'s a b...... crime if we don't!
The photo of 3 big ones is just a skite. The biggest one weighs 486 grams! ( Now you will laugh at this Meggie.....fruit that big are TOO BIG to go in a tray and so would not be exportable! ( someone at the packhouse would probably take it home for free to eat! So I keep any I see here!) Too Good! We only want fairly good!
I'm so glad we are having more converts to eating avocados suzi-k. I think good ones are just yummy. Not all varieties taste the same.....the only ones we grow and the only ones New Zealand exports are HASS variety. ( a not nice one is very off putting I realise, so I get cross when folk pick them immature and have them for sale ). Ones left on the tree after picking that really mature are the very best....but that is the same with any fruit. They become richer tasting and quite nutty.
Next post I must update on the sale ( or NOT ) of our property. Too busy to even care at the moment.NO SEWING TIME at all...hate that!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Purple Iris for Soozii.

Just 2 of the varieties of Iris that have been looking fantastic here. The single one is a flag iris ; don't know the correct name of the group and I didn't remember to get a photo of the Louisiana ones down by the creek.
I love purple too Soozii! I would bring you a bunch over if I could; but sorry you'll just have to enjoy the photos.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Look What We picked Today.

There is certainly a lot happening around here.
The 15 bee hives to pollinate the kiwifruit came in on a truck about 10.30 last night. The air is full with the distinctive smell of kiwifruit flowers and is also now humming with bees. ( they alway move them at night so all the bees will be home when their house shifts )
I'm a bit sad I had to miss my usual P & Q group today,( and so won't get to see the finished bags I taught or the dolls some ladies made at the weekend ) but firstly the car had to stay over night at the garage till it's new exhaust pipe arrived and was fitted so it would pass it WOF it went in for no transport but also TOO busy. Busy at picking Avocados.
The hydraladas ( to reach all the high up fruit ) will arrive tomorrow so we wanted to get ahead of them and do all the ground picking we could before they got here. We do not want to pay someone else to do something we can do ourselves. So just the 2 of us spent the day picking avos from the ground using the long pickers and clippers. It was hot but some of the time we could get in the shade. DH picks and I clip the stalk to about 2mm and put it in the picking bag around my neck, so you understand if I say my back feels like it has had quite enough for today! ( couldn't really take a photo of myself doing that ) We noticed how quiet and nice it was with just us and birds singing in the bush nearby.( no machinery ) We are very pleased with what we got and stopped when we had 2 completely filled bins. Don't they look just yummy! I did a bit of quality control as we went along and put aside any fruit with faults, so the 2 bins that went on our truck up to the cool store at the pack house, late today, looked really good quality. What a shame the price we are going to get for them this year is so low, cause you folk buying them won't get them's that dam NZ dollar again. Most of these Avos will go to Coles in Australia I think. Anyway I shall try and get some action shots of the rest of the picking tomorrow. I 've earned a drink!
Percy Peacock came to inspect what we had picked and I think I heard him say "Hello" , Meggie. And, "Yes of course I'll poise for a photo I am a peacock after all.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More on Bucket Bags.

I meant to be back in here sooner to show the vase of yellow Graham Thomas roses I picked last weekend. I am about to throw them out and get some fresh ones. I choose them to pick as I have 3 bushes of that rose on a fence and there were masses to pick. In that vase, they match our lounge colours too.( yellow and blue )
More on Bucket Bags. I made a little one with 2 inch squares. It is tiny - suitable for a little girl. See the comparison of size when it is put beside the original 3 inch square size.
What I did discover when making this was a quicker way to quilt the 4 panels. I made the 4 panels of 2 inch squares then laid them on the batting to see what size to cut it then decided to leave it as one piece to quilt then cut it into 4 later. By laying the panels close and side by side I was able to stitch in the ditch down the middle of the 4 strips then across all 4 panels ; off at the outside edge as before then back across the next row. It saved time and batting. Joyce and Andrea and those who have made the bag will know what I mean.( if you haven't made a a bag it may sound a little sketchy.) I also intend to make a bag of 2 fabrics, with no batting just 2 linings. It would be reversible.
This week I have watched lots of wonderful Netball every night. Congratulations to Australia you deserved your win and the World Title. New Zealand wanted it but we made too many mistakes. I love my netball it brings back wonderful memories of playing in my younger days....I was good ...but not quite to that standard. The level of fitness and training makes a huge difference from our day.
My extra job for today is to clean out the garden shed...that will be a bit yukky, I had to rescue a Weta from there yesterday so who knows what I will find lurking.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Rose by NO Other Name!

Things are looking rosy in the garden.
Rise above your worries , take your camera and walk in your garden - smell the roses , admire the roses even tell them of their beauty!
( Thanks for that advice suzi-k I decided on these 6 photos that were best on this day. Many, many other beauties live here with me but I can't include them all on this post.
That's Meg at the top ( did you know Meggie you had a lovely rose with the same name?) I love this rose for it stamens and it's pretty face!
Then there is Anais Segales, (smells almost like old smoker lollies ) then Complicata ( not complicated at all ) and Crepuscule that climbs over a trellis; Apple Blossom Flower Carpet is hardy and easy; Sally Holmes reaches for the sky and has single beautifully pale flowers; and the clean white of the White Flower Carpet rose is fresh when they first bloom.
Over the years I have reduced the number of different roses I grow. Any needing spray ( which I don't do ) or with disease problems have gone leaving the hardy, easy well behaved beauties. I have all their names recorded in my garden record book, even those deceased so I never forget their names. I must count up how many I still grow.
The ladies in my class yesterday had a great time - lots of laughing is always a good sign. I'll tell you about that in another post.
Can you smell the roses? I'm going to pick some so my house smells of them too!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On my Coffee Break.

Ive been neglecting you all my Blog friends. Things have gone from busy to ridiculously busy around here. Whenever I can snatch a few moments I have been reading your posts and even leaving the odd comment but forgive if I have been rather quiet.
Here is a picture of the first strawberries which are continuing to ripen....I have now had 3 picks and the taste and quality is improving each time.
Every day we are working in the Kiwifruit crush tipping and tying in....more hours than my body wants to do but it has to be done. DH is making it the priority; mine is perhaps getting everything inside and out ship shape and extra clean and tidy. We spent all weekend really going for it water blasting, windows, cobwebs, painting ....if you can think of it we were probably doing it. Luckily at about 3 on Sunday afternoon 2 dear friends popped in to return borrowed books and we sat and talked for nearly 2 hours. It was so great to see them and blob for a while. But we are back at trying to clean up the area in this photo which is in the outer regions of the garden. It's a zigzag path down to the dam from the house under huge, messy gum trees. After lunch it will have to be back to the kiwifruit.
I haven't done the For Sale post I was intending to do, but there is still time for that. Would you believe the Real Estate people are still fannying about and want more photos ( I gave them a CD with 75 on it ), they want more...fine take more but get on with it. It is now postponed till tomorrow. 8 of their company all trooped around the property and through the house yesterday. When we came in for lunch there were 8 of their business cards lined up on the bench....I hope they had fun! We have got quite used to the idea of going ......with some regrets of course....but now our big fear is nobody will want to buy! Imagine if it takes ages to sell having to keep up this rate of preparedness ( clean, tidy, neat, mown etc )
Forget any sewing! But no I can't cause before all this happened I had agreed to teach a class of 14 on this Friday. They are all keen and eager. I have all my prep and a 3 page hand out all ready to wonder I am frazzled. Should be a good day and at least it won't be cleaning or house work, or kiwifruit.
( Do you know that we are getting about $1.20 a tray less that last year for our that is so bad, cause you the customer are still paying about the same for's all do do with the value of the NZ dollar...we just can't make ends meet like that! We are now running the orchard, on our savings....that was for our retirement ) Sorry I didn't mean to ear bash you about that! It all adds to the stress though.
Well back to work again now! Please keep sending encouraging thoughts I need them.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trip to Calico Christmas Quilt Show.

This is not the post I intended to do next, but as things property wise have been time consuming and moving so slowly, that can wait. Heartfelt Thanks to all of you who sent me messages to ease my "transition of thought" about moving.

As I knew I had paid my money some time ago, to go on our club's bus trip yesterday I worked extra hours to get the 2nd round of Kiwifruit crush tipping finished last week.

Yesterday I got up at sparrow's fart to be at my collection point along the way to join 43 other women hell bent of having a great day out! It was 3 and3/4 hours travel each way as we had a coffee and comfort stop included. That left just over 4 hours to see it all. See what you ask. Calico Christmas is the Auckland Patchwork and Quilters Guild Inc. Annual Show held this time north of Auckland at the Harbour Function Centre at Albany. Just so much to see and not enough time. I realised later I missed one whole floor of display, but went around as much as I could. I think there was nearly 1000 quilts in all the displays and then of course the merchants, were all there; 44 I see when I re read my catalogue this morning. That's a lot of looking and jostling. After lunchtime the crowd thinned for a while and things were easier. Taking photos was really tricky as folk walked in front or knocked my arm so I actually didn't take the usual number. Well how do you decide out of all those quilts. In the end I have some photos of ideas that I might take further or really caught my eye for what ever reason. Many of the quilt displays were in amongst or right beside the shops and that was a bit tricky. ( there is one photo here of the general crowd, no one I know but it shows that girls of all ages were doing the rounds)

The other photos show a 3 panel ( triptych ) hanging by Chizuko Hoy( I think ) of New Zealand Coastal Fish, which were really identifiable. Slice of Heaven - 747 by Marie Harrison shows an imaginative use of tumbling blocks. I'm not sure who made the very simple Japanese style quilt which I loved for it's simplicity, colour use and horizontal and vertical short rows of hand quilting.( I may show some more quilts in a future post )

As well as many nibbles and spot prizes( I won a tube of Frangipani hand cream ) on the bus we had show and tell. Shelley knelt in the aisle and quizzed everyone and held purchases up and some were passed around. We all bought totally different things, nobody had to be thrown off the bus for not buying anything; and the prize went to a lady( not from our club - but a friend and quilter), who bought a new Janome sewing machine and a swift quilter! The sewing machine was not pre meditated . We all laughed when we asked, "How will you break that to your husband?" "Oh I don't have one of those any more, " she said...."But I did just spend some of the money I was saving for a new kitchen!"
I think you can tell this outing did me a power of good. That shot of some lovely purple and black and gold fat quarters are mine along with a couple of magazines and some beads ( a really good buy ) for a gift. We were also delighted to be able to get really lovely reasonably priced food for a quick lunch.
For part of the journey I sat beside an older member of our group who I don't know well at all and we were very compatible and now know lots about each other. Some folk will only sit with friends but I think it is great to move and spend time with different folk, especially some of the quieter ones. I arrived home tired so some of the senior members would have been exhausted I imagine but a good day was had by all. No mishaps of any sort! We were all very mindful of some awful news we had just learnt. The lady who owns my local ( quilt shop ) was on a short holiday with her husband in Paris to see the All Blacks, and she stepped off the metro and collapsed on the platform having had a massive bleed in her brain. After 3 ops she is now in an induced coma to try and keep her head from moving to stop any more bleeds. She is only 40 something. She is getting wonderful care; but so far from home. So ladies try and enjoy every moment you have.( and always take Travel Insurance )

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In Need of Encouragement.

I really am in need of encouragement to be strong and positive. You see my lovely Copper Beech tree here with it's new delicate leaves; it was the very first tree I planted when we moved here on April 1st 1978. It has grown to be a grand old lady who gives me much pleasure to sit under on my red seat.I look out onto it from the kitchen and dining room. So? Well we have made the big decision that this is the time to sell our property and I know with certainty I won't be taking that lovely tree with me.
Yesterday we spent an hour with the accountant making sure we were aware of all the pitfalls and requirements of selling an orchard and lifestyle property. Tomorrow morning an acquaintance that we trust, who is a real estate person is coming for the 1st round of details photos etc etc.
Reasons for selling: 1. Our age and ability to do all the work. DH has a few raves lately when something challenges him, ending by yelling," I just can't cope with all this s.... anymore." He's 36 you see...maybe I typed that backwards!
2. The NZ dollar is taking all the profit from growing export crops, while prices to do the growing continue to rise.
3. Demands for more and more compliance ( Eurepgap ) rules aren't going to go away. Carbon footprint and food miles are going to get more and more important.( and other places don't get the correct information about that is political and oil is the thing that really counts! ) NZ is too little.
4. We need to go before any more of our savings are eroded and while we are still sufficiently fit to meet some new challenges.
I could go on but I'm sure that you get the idea. It will be a huge change for us. We are in the top 5% for kiwifruit production off our small orchard. We are proud of that, and our fruit keeps very well and tastes good.( Many NZ orchards are small ) But there are economies in scale. Our avocados are quite biennial with their cropping but I love them.
Okay there are some things I will miss, but my garden is too big , especially since I got the quilting bug. I am getting quite mature to be spending hours with my arms in the air working on kiwifruit vines. ( get someone else to do it all.....yes, we would but can't afford to ) This property has a huge area with creeks ( streams ) and bush ( forest ) and tracks that are nice to have but unproductive that need caring for.
Yesterday afternoon I started doing garden maintenance, so the place will look it's best, so I need to fit in a couple of hours every day to get around it all. We have begun crush tipping the kiwifruit vines, 2nd round, and that will continue for a few weeks. This morning I did time doing extra , extra cleaning of bathroom and one toilet and windows so feel like a navy now. ( that will have to be maintaned till we sell ) So for a change of pace I will go and help with the crush tipping.
On my next post I will tell you all about what we have to a real estate advert. You have already seen many photos of the property and garden any way. Oh, I also need to pot up a few garden treasures; like things that came from my late Mum's garden, that I can't leave behind.
Sniff sniff.
It may take a couple of months or a year or ......

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Classes and Demos.

Friday's Hexagon Day went well, though not as we expected. We set all the quilts ( 4 ) and other items out ready on 2 long tables and were waiting for our time in the programme( after the business part of the meeting ); but as ladies arrived they were straight into looking at everything and taking the samples and wanting to get going so it was a bit disorganised. It didn't matter; and when we started our part we were surprised at how many wanted to make a sample. So we divided into 2 groups which worked well as otherwise we were contradicting each other. Anna did some of the steps differently from me ( both valid) and we didn't want to confuse. At 2.45 pm some ladies were still sewing so that was certainly a measure of how they were enjoying it.
In the photo ( got so busy I forgot to take any more ) you can see Val tracing hexagons to use as a pattern for future projects ( you will recognise her Kirsty) and Anna helping someone at the other end. I am now finishing ( while watching TV ) my demonstration hexagons, into another needle case; this one with a pocket( by using a folded hex extra before the backing is sewn down ). Scissors or cotton could be stored in the pocket.( I'll photograph it when finished to show you )
The other photo I took of all the components for another bucket bag. I have been asked to teach that next month and want to make up my own notes to hand out. That photo is to go with the requirements list. Joyce or Welsh Quilter I can give you both credit for the pattern and inspiration, but do either of you know where the pattern originated?
I think I will make this bag up part way to use as a sample. Finish one handle, but keep the other open so they can see where to put the pull through cord. ( so I can demonstrate ) I think I will make the bag body up to the stage just prior to sewing the side seams and the same with the lining. I can also use my finished red one as the completed project. When sewing the side seams did you 2 just angle off the end ? I started sewing at the top of the bag....did you? 2 ways to do this I guess.
Plenty to keep me busy anyway.
We have been making some big decisions around here, with regards to our future; which is both exciting and very unsettling. I will keep you posted as we go along. So some nights I am not sleeping well at brain stays too active! To give you a clue; running a property like ours is a lot of work for not always great return, so changes need to be made. (having birthdays as we all do seems to have something to do with it too......I refuse to say getting old....ooops I just did ! )

Thursday, October 11, 2007

All My Quilted Hexagon Projects.

This evening I have been getting together all my Quilt as you go Hexagon projects, as tomorrow at my P and G group I am doing a hands on demonstration along with Anna the lady who showed me the technique in the first place. She is bringing the things she has made and we have some started kits put together for those who would like them and 3 handouts with things to make and how. ( a bag and hexagons with pieced feature fabric ) ( and how to draw a hexagon using a compass )We will demonstrate and then help those who are interested.

In the photo you can see my 2 quilts folded up; the table mat sets; the decoration which now has a wee bell on the bottom; the needle case and right at the front 2 sets of the 3 components cut out ready - the parts of the needlecase that I will use to demonstrate the placing, pinning, folding and sewing steps.
My Spanish bluebells (and mauvebells ) are all flowering. I have many clumps around the garden.
Thank you all for your support of my rave about lack of women's programmes on TV. We have to make a fuss if it is to change. You were right Anne B I am now going to cheer for Argentina in the Rugby as they are the underdogs. If I watch the next matches at least I won't get het up about who wins so can calmly watch .lol. I was talking to my younger son in London this morning and he had bought tickets for ALL the games ( he a sports nut ). He sold the semi final ones to some English fans for double what he paid as they are now all made keen to see their side play.

Yesterday morning I had another session at the Dentists - the 3rd in the root canal saga -( one big one still to go in a months time ) No rash this time as he didn't wear latex gloves! ( so that's a break through - what a relief to know what was causing the rash)
It cost NZ$605 this time. OMG!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

New Zealand in Mourning.

Both New Zealand and Australia will be in a state of shock at having lost their quarter final Rugby matches. Watching the game I thought we were poorly treated by the refereeing, 2 wrong decisions cost us the match. ( I am allowed to have my opinion and my say about that! ) The Rhubarb photo is for the REF! )

I think it is a big wake up for NZ ; for the media and for those who put SO much store in our men in black. I want to have a real rave about just how one sided TV and other media are. MEN'S sport is all that matters. Women rarely feature. They have to do exceptionally well to get even 30 seconds coverage. Usually they get no coverage at all. Netball being the exception. Considering more than half our population is female we get a really bad deal. We have Sky TV and they( are even more one sided than NZ TV ) have nil content for women, or young people, except silly frivolous programmes, or ghastly make overs and tripe like that. There are whole channels devoted to men's sport! Women still are second rate citizens in their ( the media ) eyes! That's why it is great when Olympic or Commonwealth Games are on as Women do get coverage then - but it is not the norm.
And that dear ladies is why I enjoy Patchwork and Quilting and Craft SO MUCH cause it unites women everywhere doing something we enjoy and are really good at.
After a distasteful start to the day with that sport result I grabbed my camera and wandered down the garden. The sun was shining ( and still is ) the bees were really busy and a monarch butterfly was sucking nectar out of the little Kingianum Orchids .... (that photo you have to look hard at to spot the butterfly - I couldn't get close enough). But do enlarge the Rata photo with the bees ...there were so many...the air was abuzzzzzzzz. So Mother Nature knows to just carry on as normal, not worried by World Cups or other passing fads. Thank Goodness.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Blown Around the Mt.

Yesterday during a break in the weather, ( wind rain hail and sun )I suggested we walk around the Mt. ( mt. Maunganui ). Visitors need to get some exercise and fresh air...... it was very windy and the salt spray goes flying as anyone who has done this walk on a blustery day will know. There are sheltered pockets where it is warm then quite suddenly you round a corner and cop the full blast right in your face - very bracing! I like to walk fast and that is a bit rude if others don't, so I pop in and out with the camera - climb banks or rocks to get photos so, then can walk fast to catch up.
We walked in a clockwise direction starting on the inner harbour side ( facing Tauranga ) and walked around to finish on the ocean beach which now has flash boardwalks and steps.( it is protecting the sandy areas from erosion so is a good idea.) Along the way the perching place for the shags wasn't as smelly as it is in Summer and we saw something we've never seen before. In fact we heard them first - about 5 little penguins swimming near the rocks and climbing in and out. I couldn't get close without frightening them so the photo I took was too far away. I wonder where they popped in from?
The starkness of the rocks and side of the Mount contrasts sharply with all the new development; high rises and flash campers vans; it is always a surprise when you round that last corner. By then we were licking the salt spray off our lips, and the sun was trying to shine. Later it took a while to get a comb through my was well tangled and salt sprayed.
In the photo with the board walk fence ( click on it to enlarge ) there are 2 of 3 very cheeky little rabbits who were sunning themselves and nibbling on the grass. When someone walked overhead they disappeared for all of 30 seconds before popping back out bold as brass. Many folk seem to walk by the extra delights like rock pools penguins rabbits without even noticing...wonder what I missed. ( the photo with people in it is left to right DH, my sister and her partner) I was the camera person so miss out . hehe I don't mind.
There did you enjoy your walk? ( I wonder how many of you who are reading this have gone on this walk at some time ?)