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.