Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's All in the Timing!

Yesterday we had one of those it could have been so much worse situations.

At this time of the year there are lots of bees around here naturally ( wild ) and in hives stockpiled around the district in open paddocks and near bush, ready and waiting to be  taken into Gold Kiwifruit orchards and Avocado orchards at night ( when they are all inside  the hives ).( in a couple more weeks into Green Kiwifruit orchards as well ) So we are used to bees. BUT...
We were sitting eating lunch when we heard a lot of buzzzzzzing. Bees had decided to swarm and that our chimney might be a good sheltered place to make a home! They started entering one after the other down a crack in the chimney surround. The room was rapidly filling with flying bees. While I rushed and shut all doors to contain them,  R grabbed the only spray we now keep - natural Pyrethrum and climbed up and started spraying where they were coming in. After a few worrying minutes it did slow, then stop their entry. Meanwhile out the windows we could see bees everywhere circling the house. It wasn't safe to go outside for some time till they came to their senses and swarmed into a Magnolia tee in the garden.
This isn't a clear photo for obvious reasons and it is just a small swarm. Our beekeeper came and collected them by dropping them into a box about 10 pm last night. Today a few lost ones are still looking for the rest of the family.
Now comes the what if part.   If we had not been inside the house at the time the whole swarm would eventually have been inside our lounge!( or somewhere else inside the house, cause the internal doors would have been open. )This morning I vacuumed up lots of dead bodies  - we feel awful for killing our workers but on the spur of the moment felt we had to protect ourselves. The remarkable thing is not one sting! ( apparently they are less likely to sting when swarming ).... yeah right I'm not taking any chances..... I will continue to love bees for the work they do for us and take their photos when they forage in my flowers............ but lets not live together!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


These freshly picked and washed ( still wet ) oranges drying on a purple towel made me think...I've not used that colour combination in a quilt ( yet ).

Our oranges get eaten as is; juiced; cut into cubes and set in orange jelly; made into date and orange muffins; put in salads and shared with friends.
Our long weekend ( Labour Day ) ended up staying fine..despite what the forecast said....and I slaved in the garden digging out the agapanthus started weeks ago.( 4 tractor bucket loads full! ) That's as far as I am going with that for now. Right where I started this Hosta is looking so good with no tatty aggies beside it now. I will still need to sift through the soil for missed roots - less strenuous, before replanting anything new.
I finished reading "Remarkable Creatures, " by Tracy Chevalier and really enjoyed it. Based on the lives of 2 real people in the early 1800s, and set in Lyme Regis, UK. You might have been there Anne B ?
( also wrote " The Girl With the Pearl Earing," and "The Virgin Blue.")
Because I can't decide exactly what my next quilt should be ( or how to use the fabrics  - I haven't cut anything ) I have been continuing on with the blue and yellow trellis pattern table runner I am making by hand.
Still continuing the same Kiwifruit work with lots of bud thinning now.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Some Success.

Thimbleanna your right; it's because I love blogging and talking with all you like minded ladies!
Some successful date scones were made here this morning .  A huge improvement, so again thanks for the helpful tips.  ( R said they were light and tasty! )
Yesterday at Tga P and Q group we had the Papamoa Patchers ( a newish group ) join us for lunch and Show and Tell. It was a very successful day, with  much talk and laughter and sharing of ideas. Our room was really full and certainly lacking in good places to display all the lovely work ladies shared with us.
A while ago I told you about a project and  showed you a little block I had made for a group quilt ( s ) that was being put together from Marie's ( deceased ) fabric's  to be given to her family for the grandchildren to use. The first quilt is finished and displayed yesterday. This is the pastels quilt. There may be enough blocks still coming in to make 3 quilts.
 Another Marie in the group had tied it for us, which suited it . This  was made from a huge variety of fabrics and sewers so a good group effort.

We have got back to better weather which is encouraging things to grow.  Here are R's first potatoes( Marris Anchor )( first time we have tried this varriety ) hoed up and the second lot just through (Agria ). The Pukeko have been scratching a bit but this patch is down beside a kiwifruit block so not fenced. Last year this patch grew all the pumpkins. My herb and salad garden is producing in abundance!
For the rest of the day while the sun is out there are lawns for me to mow, and gardening jobs galore.
I hope your weekend is enjoyable !

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Work to Do.

Thank you all for your advice regarding scones - I will keep trying to improve and will report back. Meanwhile I made some more bread which turns out really well!
Sometimes I am almost overwhelmed with how much there is to do around why am I "wasting" time blogging and taking photos? Well It gives me pleasure and life would just pass me by if I didn't allow myself time to stand and smell my roses!
I said earlier I would show photos of the progress the grafts on the kiwfruit made.
This is the stump graft - the biggest one . It had 2 grafts put in and if you look closely you may see one has done really well, the other less so. Only one is required so the other is insurance in case of damage . It is taped to a string to guide it up the the overhead wire.

This photo shows what I am looking at most of the day at the is a shoot on a female vine with lots of flower buds. One of the things I am doing ever so carefully just using my thumb and forefinger is removing the triples down to one ( see where there is a big bud with 2 smaller ones on the same stem ) .....this piece would have 5 buds left when I finish. I am also removing any that aren't round.

Meg I thought you might be interested to know Percy Peacock is still in the neighbourhood and visits me while I'm working to see if I have anything to eat .

Sunday, October 18, 2009

While it Rains.

Too many showers of rain! I had great plans of things to do in the garden today but even taking these few photos I got very wet. So I know when to come back inside. 
The siberian Irises are beginning to flower - One of your favourites Soozii.
Flag Iris with Honesty to match.
A miniature lemon Rhododendron called Patty Bee.
A really bright Gerbra.
I made cheese scones this morning and they turned out really badly. I can make beaut pikelets and muffins but my scones are only average but today not even that good. Anyone got a really good recipe? ( was it not enough kneeding ;was the oven too cool to start...gosh I don't know )

This turned out well though. My pasta with broad beans. Now I have put the pasta recipe up before way back in Jan 2007, but will repeat it as it is quick. Actually any pasta sauce  ( a tomato bassed one )would work for this; that's what I love about it; add what you like / have.

While you are cooking the pasta of your choice ( large shells perhaps ) for about 8 minutes, microwave 2 rashers of bacon between paper towels. Cook your Broad beans lightly. Also any other veges like broccoli or carrots.
Make the dressing/ sauce by combining a quarter of a cup of squeezed lemon juice with the same amount of olive or avocado oil. Add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Stir.
When your pasta is cooked, drain it and stir in 2 tablespoons of rich firm pesto. The heat from the pasta will melt it onto the pasta. Pour over your liquid sauce. Arrange in your bowls along with your other vegetabes . Chop the crisp bacon on top and garnish with parsley if you like it. Enjoy. If you are a vegetarian just leave out he bacon.

On the quilting fron I am just cutting/ sorting my scraps into size bags while I mull over my next 2 projects.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Broad Beans.

On the 1st of October I showed a photo of how tall our Broad beans  ( faba beans in some parts of the world ) had grown. We have been eating them for some time. Folk seem to love or hate them. We obviously love them....BUT young and tender ones!  If I ever buy frozen ones in the OFF season I always peel them so only the green inside is left.( time consuming )
   We now are in the fortunate position of having lots to pick almost daily. I have "been," doing some research on Bbeans and am glad to find they are a good source of Vitamin A , C, folate; Thiamin ( B1 ) iron and phosphorus;  have no bad cholesterol and are good for the heart. Apparently when eaten with either grains, nuts or  seeds they form a complete hi fibre vegetable protein.( same reason baked beans on toast are good for us ! )
I conclude therefore they are good for us.....this fresh even better. We eat them podded and briefly boiled; this small there is no nasty leathery grey skin . Earlier on we were eating the whole small pods and leaf tips.

One way to enjoy them is with pasta......I might put my made up recipe here tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Return Journey.

We drove home from South Taranaki by the West Coast route.The weather improved and warmed as we progressed northward.
Well trimmed pine trees on the family farm.

Mt. Egmont was hidding in the clouds so it didn't matter that we cut across to the North Taranki coast and followed the road by the sea ( in places ).

West Coast beaches have black ( iron ) sand and are quite rugged and unpopulated except for little clusters of batches in suitable inlets and sheltered spots. Lots of driftwood and other treasures wash up there.( small boats, fishing floats etc )

A flowering Rata vine in an old tree ( it's host ) almost dead, but the Rata survives.This road has 2 tunnels, always a hi light on this trip when we used to have 2 small boys on board.

This was new - a lovely little modern cafe with wonderful coffee and yummy eats, at the little settlement of Piopio.( would recommend it )
When we got to Kihikihi we took the first turn off mistakenly( it's been a while )instead of the second but very much enjoyed the scenery we saw. We crossed inland lower than we should have and went across the Arapuni Dam and meet the road home at Putararu.

Then over the Kaimai Range and home before it was dark. ( much warmer here Loulee ! )

Sunday was spent washing and catching up and yesterday I spent the entire day in the orchard to catch up as the sprayer was coming and we got behind with the crush tipping. R spent his time mowing so there would be no flowering weeds under the vines and therefore no bees on them...a precaution we take when the vines are getting sprayed - the new growth needs protection from leafroller caterpillars.( bees are our friendly workers and we like to protect them ) Today the plumber is here and I need to restock the pantry cupboard.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Journey Through Central North Island.

After a journey of more than 1100 kilometres we are back, to warmer BOP. On Thursday we traveled down through the middle of the North Island, going that way especially to see what the Desert Road looked like. It was worth the extra kilometres to see the spectacular snow scenes.Come with me and see some of the sights.
This is a view of the Prawn Farm near Huka Falls at Taupo. We called into this area briely to swap books with a friend.

On the Desert Road Mt Ruapehu had it's head in a snow cloud.

As we travelled through the Desert Road there were amazing snow scenes. In all the years ( my entire life ) that I have used this road I have never seen so much snow, ( the road was closed last Monday and Tuesday ) even in the middle of Winter. ( this is Spring! )
We saw snowmen built by travelling families and everywhere vehicles were pulled over for either photograpy or snowball throwing reasons.

Snow was still on the ground south of of this area almost as far as Taihape.

Friday started windy but fine and I took a walk before breakfast. By mid day the weather had deteriorated dramatically. We got to the church early; it is having restoration done and was quite small for the huge crowd that turned out for the funeral.The side windows were boarded over but the family stain glass window was uncovered.
Many had to stand outside and as the service started so did the rain. The wind became a  gale, something I remember from the time I lived there. This was a spectacular weather display. We both had umbrellas turned inside out and later with rain going horizontally folk got very wet. The Service was amazing with huge variety in the tributes. The Bishop of Taranaki paid a tribute saying he didn't know of anyone who had served in that church or any other for more years - over 70. Ken had started by pumping the bellows for the organ as a young person . 4 clergy officated and after processed  to the end of the street in the rain in front of the hearse.
There were tributes from grandchildren; an email fom the latest family member - a great grandaughter in the UK only 6 days old! As the coffin was leaving the church a local Maori made a spine tingling Poroporoaki ( chanted farewell )....... This was a dear and much respected man - a Totara tree  in thre forest had fallen.
The horrendous storm continued that day and night and was still very windy next morning when we visited our old house. This is where I lived for the first 10 years of married life. It is in need of much repair but the young family members there now are building a new house on the spot this photo was taken from.

This is the view out towards the Tasman Sea  (that I used to see from my kitchen window )

The weather remained very cold and very very windy so just after mid day Saturday we decided to start the return trip.(  photos of that tomorrow. )

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Second Winter.

New Zealand is experiencing a very cold patch of weather. It is Spring here but suddenly Winter weather returns. In some places there is snow where they hardly ever get Te Aroha where R's brother lives.
This is the top of Mt Te Aroha for those of you who know NZ.
The Desert Road and the Napier Taupo Road have noth been closed with snow.  Where we live it has been cold but not that cold. ( about 3-5 dgrees centigrade with a nasty lazy know one that goes through you not round you. ) It's  better today but still unpleasantly cold.
 We have just had 5 days of visitors.( 6 adults ) Of course the first thing that happened - Murphy's law...was the 2nd toilet mal functioned so couldn't be used...but we managed. The weather here was appalling so mostly we were all inside. My sewing machine has been shut away in the cupboard for that time ( withdrawal syptoms ) as both the bench where I sew and the big table were in constant use. ( for food! ) So no sewing (except a few seams  by hand ) to show. Yesterday after lunch the sun was back but still very cold but out to orchard work..... late in the afternoon some more friends arrived, ones we enjoy; but they were just passing through.( there are 365 days in a year why do all our vistors turn up at the same time ?   )
Today I am still in the house putting rounds of washing through, but will return to the orchard after lunch. But it never rains but it pours ( as the old saying goes ) ....I got a phone call to say the oldest member of our greater family had died aged 96. He just stopped breathing...what a wonderful way to pain, not sick -  just old. So now sometime in the next few days we will have to travel down country ( about 4-5 hours )to his funeral in Patea, South Taranaki. It will be a great family get together, but we are quite busy, but we WILL be going. So if I am quiet again for a few days that will be where I am.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Not Quite What I Expected.

My rainbow coloured quilt bag is finished but is very much larger than I expected.
This shows the gathered in end with cord and toggles to hold it closed.

It's very difficult to take a decent photo but here's what it looks like. It is huge and would hold 3 middle sized quilts or one kingsized. It is symetrical though doesn't look it in this photo. The handles didn't seem long enough on the pattern's measurements, so I made them longer,  but once sewn on I can see that they would have worked so I'll try it like it is but may shorten them which would be quite simple.
I've had little time to blog this week and have more visitors arriving tomorrow, so I'm extra busy. ( so sorry if I haven't commented much lately )
We have been eating small helpings of broad beans very young and tender and adding some tops too. See just how tall they have grown!